Veep calls for more agric research, funding

farmerVice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur on Thursday underscored the need for more research and funding to the agricultural sector to ensure increased food production and security in Africa.

‘’The need for action research is urgent. African Governments must increase funding for agricultural research and extension; farmers’ innovations must find their way into the research agenda,” the Vice President said.

Addressing the opening of the Sixth Africa Agricultural Science Week in Accra, the Vice President attributed poverty among many of Africa’s peoples to poverty among Africa’s farmers.

He added: “it is also true that many of our farmers are surviving at the subsistence level.”

Vice President Amissah-Arthur said Africa should be able to achieve food self sufficiency through agricultural science and innovation.

He said Africa has the resources of vast land, a young and energetic population  to bring about food security.

The Vice President called for measures to ensure enough domestic food production, saying fluctuating food prices had not helped the pocket of the urban dweller.  “People are put at the mercy of events in faraway places  and unable to control their own affairs when they depend on other for their food supplies”, he observed.

He spoke of a number of initiatives by the Government of Ghana to scale up agricultural productivity.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur said the youth were pivotal in ongoing efforts to correct the poor image of agriculture and increase rural employment, hence the Government of Ghana was integrating young people in Ghana’s agricultural transformation through the Youth in Agriculture Programme.

“Our continent has young people with a propensity to adopt new ideas, concepts and technologies. The youth is a force that must push forward agricultural science and innovations,” the Vice President said.

He said Ghana’s agricultural sector had grown by an average of about five per cent per year during the last 25 years, and that reforms in the cocoa sector and the rising yield in staple crops had helped increase incomes in rural areas, reducing the proportion of the people living in poverty from 52 per cent in 1991/1992 to 28.5 per cent in 2005/2006.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur expressed the hope that the exchange of ideas during the week will bring about innovative mechanisms for sustaining achievements in the agricultural sector  and overcome remaining challenges.

The Week’s event, running from July 15 -20, 2013, is being organised jointly by the Forum For Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) with Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is on the theme: “Feeding Africa  Through Agricultural Science and Innovation.”

The African Science Week is intended to create an open space for networking and exchange of information and knowledge on agricultural innovations on topical issues with a bearing on agricultural research and development.

It is bringing together representatives of FARA’s constituents, agricultural research institutions and universities, non-governmental organisations, policy makers, private sector actors and national and regional parliamentary sub-committees on agricultural development partners.

Source: GNA

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