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Much of Ghana’s $95m agric research expenditure goes into paying salaries – Report

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A new food policy report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shows that a large part of Ghana’s $95 million expenditure in the agricultural research and development (R&D) sector in 2008 was spent in paying salaries of employees at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The report however, does not indicate what percentage goes into salaries.

According to the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation funded report titled “African Agricultural R&D in the New Millennium,” the increase in the sector’s spending was rather on staff instead of expansions in research activities or greater investment in equipment or infrastructure.

“The rapid increase in Ghanaian agricultural R&D spending, for instance, was driven almost entirely by increased salary expenditure at CSIR rather than expanded research activities or greater investment in equipment or infrastructure”, the report, released early April 2011, revealed.

The report however, said “the unprecedented increase in expenditure on salaries needs to be understood in the context of years of underfunding, during which salary levels became increasingly incommensurate and uncompetitive.”

Agricultural research staffing also grew steadily throughout this period, albeit at a much slower rate than expenditures, it said.

With 537 full-time staff, the report said in 2007, 27% of researchers at the CSIR were “51years or older, and half were between 41 and 50 years old” and 3–4% of staff attaining Bachelor of Science Certificates.
“These were often as a result of recruitment bans being lifted, lack of training opportunities, and declining numbers of senior staff”, it added.

Investment into agricultural R&D stalled in the 1990s but doubled during the 2000-2008 period mostly due to increased investments by CSIR agencies and at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) which resulted in growth of cocoa production.

Meanwhile, the share of Ghana’s spending in Africa grew from 2.3% in 1991 to 5.5% in 2008 whiles staff ratio increased from 3.6% in 1991 to 4.4% in 2008, the report indicated.

 

By Ekow Quandzie

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