Stakeholders implementing the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa Rising) Project, on Wednesday met in Accra to deliberate on work so far done within the first year of project implementation in Ghana and Mali.
The Africa Rising Project falls under the “Feed the Future Initiative,” adopted by the Obama Administration in America in 2008 to partner countries to halve hunger and poverty in the world.
America has provided funds to the USAID, which has collaborated with countries, particularly, Ghana and Mali, and other countries in the Ethiopian Highlands and East and Southern Africa, to focus on agriculture production to ensure more yields and good nutritional value for people especially women and children.
In Ghana, institutions like the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Crops and Livestock Division of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and University of Development Studies is partnering International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to implement the project in the three Northern Regions.
At the stakeholders meeting, Dr Robert Asiedu, Regional Director, West Africa Research for Development Directorate, IITA, said the project was focusing on maize-based and rice-based systems including legumes, cowpea and soya bean in Ghana, while sorghum/millet based systems were being focused on in Mali and vegetables for both countries.
He said 60 communities in Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions were being worked with to ensure that the needed resources in the form of expertise, seeds and other weather information is given to the farmers.
Food production, productivity, storage, utilization and marketing methods are being researched into so farmers at the household levels, community and on their farmlands would be well educated on practices that would ensure more yields.
He said: “Regular consultation with stakeholders is essential if we are to derive the benefits from the highly multi-institutional nature of this project and the wealth of experience and knowledge available to us. This form will also help us to discuss proposed plans for the second year.”
Mr Jerry Glover, Director of Partnerships, IITA, said the project was an important initiative that would need the commitment of all stakeholders to ensure successful implementation of the five-year project.
He said the project involved researching, capacity building, farming systems and resourcing local farmers and other institutions to ensure food security in participating countries.
Dr Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon, Coordinator of Africa Rising, Eastern/Southern Africa and West Africa Regional Projects, IITA, said the project started in Ghana in 2011 with various activities including identifying the 60 communities, researching into farming systems, rainfall, population and market access among others after which research partners were identified.
She expressed the hope that the project, when fully implemented, would attain its expectations to help address hunger and poverty.