Apply technology to agric to improve results — Prez

President John Dramani Mahama has advised farmers to move away from the age-old practice of ‘miracle agriculture’ to science-based agriculture in order to take advantage of the benefits technology brings to the business of agriculture.

He said ‘miracle agriculture’, “which is praying to God to give us food to eat”, was unpredictable, as against science-based agriculture, which could accurately predict what the farmer could get.

The President gave the advice when he witnessed the first harvesting of tomatoes produced through the EnvironDome Greenhouse Systems at Okumanin near Kade in the Eastern Region yesterday.

“In science, you put elements together and you can predict what you can get and the results will be the same every time,” Mr Mahama said.

The technology, which was inaugurated on December 1, 2013, is the first of its kind in the country and involves the application of various scientific methods to boost horticulture and vegetable farming.

In the application of the mix, an investor with a well-run operational farm should be able to achieve a 100 per cent capital repayment within two to three years.

The facility also carries out intensive research into greenhouse technology in order to develop a package of good sericulture practices for fruit and vegetable growers.

It is a joint initiative among the University of Ghana, Elsenberg-Agri Beijing and Stevicksen Ventures. A welcome technology 

President Mahama described the technology as one of the best things to happen to agriculture, and said the government would support the extension of the technology to other parts of the country.

“This is a landmark project and it is going to contribute to the revolution of agriculture in the country,” he said.

He said when the project was introduced to him, he readily threw his weight behind it because as a farmer himself, he knew it would come with a lot of benefits.

Agriculture, he said, was the mainstay of the economy, especially for the fact that it was the largest single employer in the country.

“So if we want to do anything to improve the incomes of the people, then agriculture is the way to go,” he added.

Agriculture should not be seen as a vocation to go into to produce to feed you and your family but a venture to make money and create wealth, the President said.

He said as the world’s population continued to grow, there was the need to increase food production to be able to feed the people, and Ghana could not afford to stay behind. Comparative advantage 

Mr Mahama said Ghana had comparative advantage to control the vegetable and flower market in Europe, looking at the distance and the weather, as well as related conditions.

“So what we are doing here is a revolution to place Ghana in a position to be the leading exporter of vegetables, fruits and flowers to the European market,” he added.

That, he said, would also help create jobs and bring wealth to the people. Graduates 

Graduates who were ready to take up agriculture as a business would be supported to be trained and given credit to start up their businesses, he declared.

Mr Mahama promised that the government would do everything to fix the bad roads in the area.

He said when he went to campaign in the area in 2016, he would want to see a great improvement in the condition of the roads. Agric minister

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Clement Kofi Humado, said the ministry was deploying units of the facility in agricultural colleges to train students in the system for them to come out of school well versed in its use.

The ministry, he said, was also developing centres of excellence at Vakpo, Vea, Akomadan and Dahwenya.

The Head of the Forestry Research Centre of the University of Ghana, Prof. K.G. Ofosu Budu, said the technology had enormous benefits for the nation.

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