Low food production threatens Ghana’s GDP growth – Scientist
Agricultural production now contributes about 20 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) instead of the original 60 per cent to 70 per cent.
Dr Victor Agyemang, the Director General of Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who stated this, said the sinking production levels was affecting overall GDP growth, while it threatened food security.
Therefore, Dr Agyemang said it was important to adopt various technological platforms to increase the growth rate of agricultural production.
Dr Agyemang was addressing stakeholders at a workshop, organised in Accra, on Monday, by the CSIR to share findings on a study conducted to review and appraise the various Innovation Platform (IP) cases, draw lessons and make recommendations for an improved IP implementation.
The Innovation Platforms seeks to bridge the gap between Ghana’s research and the private sector through the implementation of an improved technology development and transfer system.
It is also the framework, which brings stakeholders along the value chain together for continuous interaction and lessons learning through research to ensure that technology generation, dissemination and adoption takes place on targeted commodities for the economic benefit of stakeholders.
The rationale for the workshop is, therefore, to strategize on modalities to improve and streamline IP implementation as well as institutionalise agricultural innovation systems and innovation platforms.
Dr Agyemang said the low production in agricultural and other environmental and health issues required technological solutions, which the CSIR had the task to resolve through research.
He said the Council through its various institutions had carried out many research and development activities that continued to improve varieties of crops, livestock and fisheries and those that promote construction and agro-processing.
“The challenge then is how to ensure the adoption of these technologies by the private sector,” he said.
Dr Stella Ennin, the Director of Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the CSIR, explained that the study of innovation platforms formed part of the activities of the crop-small ruminant innovation platforms implemented in Ghana, the Gambia, Mali and Benin and was being coordinated by the CRI, with funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs of Australia.
She said the IP also emanated from the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), a programme developed by African Heads of States within the NEPAD, which prescribed the innovation systems approach to agricultural research and development as the paradigm to catalyse technological and institutional innovation in Africa.
Dr George Owusu Essegbey, Director of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of CSIR, said the IP was an important programme that could enhance efforts to transfer and commercialise technologies.
Mr Timothy Millikan, the Deputy Australia High Commissioner, said Australia’s goal in providing support to the agricultural sector in West Africa was to lift food security by increasing agricultural productivity.
This, he said, Australia was doing through investing in the research and the adoption of new technologies that addressed food availability, access, and nutrition-related challenges for poor rural farmers.