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Minister commends SARI for role in food production

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Cassava - a staple food in Ghana

The Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) has been commended for its research findings which have greatly contributed to enhance food production in the country.

The Institute has over the years carried out research work on a number of food and fibre crops such as sorghum, millet, rice, maize, cowpea, cassava and groundnuts which has led to the introduction of improved technologies to enhance agricultural productivity.

The Northern Regional Minister Mr Moses Bukari Mabengba, made the commendation when some staff of SARI led by Dr Mathias Fosu, a Senior Research Officer paid a courtesy call on him at the weekend to highlight on some of the activities of the Institute and the challenges the were facing.

The Regional Minister noted that for example SARI had introduced the NERICA rice varieties which had increased rice production in the country, adding that this was a step in the right direction since the government wanted to reduce rice importation.

Dr Fosu said as part of its contribution to government’s strategy for the use of science and technology for development, SARI provided rice seeds for about 10,000 farmers within the last two years to help resuscitate the rice industry.

He said most of the varieties of maize, sorghum and millet being grown in the three northern regions were developed by SARI. The Institute also developed neem seed products for the control of field and storage pests to reduce post harvest losses.

He said in addition, SARI had developed soil management technologies for the three northern regions which were being used by the farmers.

Dr Fosu said in October 2008 SARI released four new varieties of cowpea with an additional release of five more in 2009.

He said as a result of the several developments by SARI the hunger gap in most of the communities had been reduced from three months to about one month.

Dr Fosu said SARI had also embarked on some social responsibilities’ within its catchment area involving the establishment of the St. Monicas Basic schools, the provision of a health post for the people of Nyankpala and the employment of over 60 percent of the workforce of the Institute from the communities.

He said the Institute was however faced with a number of problems among some of which were the lack of adequate funds from government for research, encroachment on the research fields and maintenance of the Institutes structures and appealed to government to come to its assistance.

Source: GNA

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