Dr Francis Kusi, the Director of Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI), has urged scientists in the agricultural sector to support the government to improve groundnut and peanut production, as a boost to food security.
He said scientists should also use their knowledge to support the Government to produce high-nutrient staple crops that could combat malnutrition and improve food utilisation in the country.
Dr Kusi made the call during the 4th annual Ghana Groundnut Working Group meeting (GGWG) held in Tamale on the theme: “Improving groundnut productivity and food safety amongst smallholder farmers.”
The three-day event, organised by the CSIR in collaboration with Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut, a USAID-funded research project that focuses on groundnut production, was to foster interactions among individuals and organisations to strengthen partnerships that would enhance the groundnut value chain in the country.
It was also to build on the success of the previous meeting held last year.
Dr Kusi advised scientists to investigate opportunities to improve agricultural productivity and resilience to climate change adaptation to ensure food security.
He announced that as part of the GGWG project, the CSIR-Crop Research Institute had partnered the North Carolina State University and other Universities in the USA to develop technologies that ultimately improved the well-being of resource-poor groundnut farmers as well as improved groundnut productivity.
He indicated that over the years, the project also contributed to the building of the human resource capacity of Ghanaian scientists through research and offering young scientists the opportunity to be trained at the Masters and PhD levels.
Mr Dave Hoisington, the Director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut, said groundnut was an important food crop and a source of protein for both people and animals as well as for cooking oil.
He stated that groundnut was one of the nutrients that helped children to grow faster and enhance their thinking to improve their performance in school.
Mr Hoisington said the group had been working together for years to make groundnut farming more profitable by improving groundnut’s ability to withstand drought and fight disease.
Professor Moses Mochiah, Director of CSIR-Crops Research Institute in Kumasi, said this year’s GGWG would focus on the seed technology systems and advances in production technology to promote groundnut productivity, adding that the group would focus on post-harvest quality, food safety, and nutrition.
He said there would be technical and managerial assistance to farmers’ groups and small-scale entrepreneurs as part of efforts to promote groundnut production.