Feature by Lydia Kukua Asamoah, GNA
Accra, September 18, GNA - The Animal Research Institute (ARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), continues to be at the forefront of technology development through its innovative interventions-moving industry a step ahead, and providing food security, job and wealth creation in the country.
In all its operations and throughout its interventions, over 3,600 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have had their capacity built, 259 start-ups have been supported in diverse ways, over 2,600 students have been exposed to the prospects in livestock agribusiness, while its supported businesses have created about 400 new jobs.
ARI has trained over 4,000 young people in the creation and running of livestock businesses through, which it had successfully commercialised four livestock technologies, offered internship opportunities to students and supported many young people to create their own businesses.
As part of its contribution towards the socio-economic development of the country, it has rebranded wheat-bran, which was an environmental hazard some years back and commercialise it; it has championed livestock diseases including the Newcastle disease; as well as developed poultry breeds that is supporting industry.
“We have developed technology packages that are moving the big industry forward. We have technologies that support the grass cutter industry. In fact the industries will not wait for us to finish our research-they are at our doorsteps every time to take what is coming from us. So everything that starts here changes the phase of industry”, Professor Emmanuel K. Adu, Director of ARI said when he opened a day’s event at the Institute’s premises.
The open day, which was held on the theme: “Championing Innovations in livestock production for jobs and wealth creation: CSIR-Animal Research Institute at the Forefront”, formed part of activities to mark the 60th anniversary celebrations of the CSIR throughout the country.
CSIR was established by NLC Degree 293 of October 10, 1968. It was re-established in its present form by CSIR Act 521 of November 26 1996.
It currently has developed products like powered egg, egg yolk oil, multi-nutritional feed blocks for ruminants, quality hay and salt lick for livestock’s, customised dairy products such as fresh milk and yoghurt as well as processed meat including smoked, dried, fresh minced and deboned meat for sale on both small and large scale bases.
Prof Adu said with the current demand for more technological and scientific advancement services, ARI had braced itself to rise to the occasion through its re-engineering policy to inspire efficiency, and espouse more entrepreneurs through technology development and innovative interventions to bring about job creation, food safety and wealth creation.
ARI as one of the 13 Institutes of the CSIR was established as a Biological Research Institute in January 1957 as an agency of Tsetse Control Department of the Gold Coast Administration.
It was associated with the University College and housed in Achimota.
It was re-designated Entomological and Parasitological Research Institute, under the newly promulgated National Research Council, later re-named the Ghana Academy of Sciences, in 1959.
However, in 1964 the name of the Unit was changed to Animal Research Institute when the research programme was widened from strictly animal health to include other areas of animal agriculture.
ARI, currently has six divisions, created for the purposes of organising the Institute administratively, to provide products and services based on cutting-edge research.
The divisions include the Farmed Animals Technology Development that focuses on developing of modern technologies for livestock production, and technology packages for different categories of livestock; and the Companion Animals and Livestock Diseases Control Division, which play a role in companion animal health research, develop protocols and rapid responses for early detection of common livestock diseases and also participate in the neglected tropical diseases grant scheme.
Another Division is the Industrial Products Development, Food Safety and Marketing that focus on the development of new livestock and dairy products, and the development of technologies to extend the shelf-life of livestock products.
There is also the division of Natural Resources Management and Environmental Health that develops technologies for efficient and economic exploitation of Ghana’s natural resources while developing technologies that would ensure and promote sound environmental health.
The Livelihoods, Innovations and Business Development, is another Division that develops animal-based livelihood models for poverty reduction, develop various models for public-private partnerships also known as business incubation, and develop business models for commercial livestock production.
The last division is the Genomics and Livestock Improvement that focuses on developing the skills in the use of genomics for improved livestock breeding, and tool kits for diagnostics as well as providing support grant applications in various aspects of livestock research.
ARI has been partnering various institutions and regional bodies to enable it come out with its innovative solutions to the doorsteps of many individual Ghanaians and businesses as it continues to play roles in agribusiness incubators to stimulate innovation and entry of new firms into the agribusiness sector.
Thus, in 2012, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), with support from DANIDA established six agribusiness innovation incubations in some African Countries including Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya and Mali.
The initiative involved the creation of consortia with partners from University, Research and Business, dubbed UniBRAIN, which were to support the creation of start-up business, particularly youth and women-led businesses in the agriculture sector.
In the case of Ghana, ARI under the initiative, led a consortium made up of University of Ghana, Heifer International, Animal Production Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Humbeg Farms, a privately-owned poultry farm to establish the Creating Champions In Livestock Agribusiness (CCLEAr) agribusiness incubator, where it provided services to entrepreneurs, students and relevant stakeholders in the area of training and advisory services in livestock production, processing and marketing and business development as well as technology commercialisation services.
ARI is however, facing a serious land encroachment issue by some Ghanaians, and it appealing for support from the state to help its capture and protect its lands so it could have the needed land to expand its operations, and continue to play its critical role and services, towards the socio-economic development of the country.