Stephen Asante, GNA
Kwadaso (Ash), July 09, GNA – The Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has inaugurated a seed storage facility, at its research station at Kwadaso near Kumasi.
The refurbished facility, a strategic initiative to boost the food value chain, funded under the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Feed the Future Ghana Agriculture Technology (ATT) project, would aid the nation to achieve higher agricultural productivity.
Dr Gary Mullins, Chief of Party of the ATT project, said the ultimate goal was to increase smallholder farmer access to and use of certified seed, particularly for the ATT targeted crops of maize, rice and soybean.
The facility, he noted, was designed to serve as a strategic reserve, on which the nation’s food security would depend, especially in the outbreak of uncontrollable pest diseases or infestation such as the Fall Army Worm.
Drawing an analogy from past experiences, Dr Mullins pointed out that, “Had it not been for root stock from grape producers in California, originally sourced from France, French grape producers could not have re-established their vineyards after they were struck by Phyloxera in the early 2000”.
The Chief of Party, therefore, stressed the need for the nation to continuously seek private partnership to enhance investment in essential agricultural infrastructure.
He said the project had in recent time been increasing the availability of appropriate and affordable key technologies to sustainably improve the competitiveness of food crops, especially in the three northern regions.
It was also helping to improve the agricultural research extension systems by creating a private sector-led, agricultural technology transfer mechanism, linking research and extension systems and producers in a market-driven approach to seed variety development and dissemination.
Dr. Mullins disclosed that through the ATT’s partnership with the Iowa State University, United States (US), three new modern seed inspection laboratories had been built in the country and furnished with modern equipment.
They had also provided technical training for the Ghana Seed Inspection Division’s laboratory technical staff to improve their competency in managing those facilities.
Dr. Stella Ama Ennin, Director of the CRI, lauded their US partners for refurbishing the facility, saying, it would be critical to research activities and the sustenance of the gains made by the Institute in ensuring food security.
The project, she said, fed into the government’s vision of implementing successfully some of its flagship agro-based programmes, including ‘Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)’.