Ghana hosts West African consultative meeting to transform dryland agriculture  

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), in collaboration with the African Drylands Crop Improvement Network, has organized a three-day West Africa Regional Consultation Conference in Accra.  

The conference came at a critical time when the sub-region’s agricultural sector was grappling with the impact of climate change, posing challenges to food security and livelihoods. 

Dr. Paswel Marenya, a senior scientist at CIMMYT, explained that the West Africa Regional Consultation Conference on dryland food systems transformation aimed to address longstanding challenges in West Africa’s Dryland Agriculture.  

He noted that the transformation of dryland food systems would help address the longstanding challenges of dryland agriculture in West Africa.  

He cited key among them as low adoption of modern varieties and poor yields of key dryland cereals such as sorghum and millet, which currently stands at an average of 1 ton per hectare while the global average rests at 4 tons per hectare.  

He also highlighted key issues discussed at the conference, including integrating and leveraging agribusiness, exploring innovative seed delivery models, and designing sustainable seed delivery systems. 

The conference also focused on breeding strategies, formulating them for local and broader adaptation, catering to localized and broader markets.  

The initiative aims to increase the impact of dryland crops and ensure smallholders have consistent access to quality seeds, thereby enhancing productivity and livelihoods. 

Prof. Paul Bosu, Director-General of Ghana’s Council for Scientific Research (CSIR), commended scientists for researching to leverage dryland crops for food security. 

He expressed the hope that the conference would make a tremendous impact and not remain just as a project.  

He noted that cereals like millet and sorghum were crucial in combating food insecurity domestically.  

Dr. Eveline Sawadogo, a specialist in science, technology, and innovation studies from INERA, Burkina Faso, applauded the efforts for organizing the conference and working towards developing pathways to ensure food security.  

She said there was the need to identify key gaps, particularly in the areas of seed production and distribution to local farmers and ensure effective collaboration to guarantee greater yields. 

The conference brought together 47 scientists from nine National Agricultural Research Institutes across West Africa, including Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Chad, and Niger.  

The goal was to transform the dryland agricultural sector, delivering sustainable improvements in food security and livelihoods for smallholders and communities across sub-Saharan Africa. 

Source: GNA 

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