Accra, March 13, GNA - Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Dr Mustapha Ahmed on Tuesday said despite strides that research has made in developing improved variety of crops it is imperative that genetic diversity is maintained for posterity.
He said yam, sorghum, millet and cowpea are very important as far as food security is concerned not only in Ghana but in the sub region as a whole.
Speaking at a Regional Consultative Workshop on Improving Linkages between Conservation and use of Food Crops in West Africa, he noted that it was for that matter that government attaches great importance to the project.
It is been supported by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, a foundation for food security and was attended by 40 participates from Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Benin, Switzerland and Italy.
The ministry he said has been conducting extensive nationwide consultation on all policies it has been formulating since 2009 aimed at environmental mainstreaming, which encompasses the process by which environmental issues are brought to the attention of policy makers.
Mr Asante Krobea, Director of Crop Services of the Agriculture Ministry said the Ministry’s food security cannot be achieved without application of science and technology on daily basis especially at this time of the country’s development when conservation of biodiversity of crops is threatened with extinction at very high levels.
This he said is due to population pressure, food production practices, and commercial land use for mining, timber, and climate change among other factors.
The conservation of traditional crop variety such millet, yam, sorghum and cowpea in changing environment is critical to addressing food security in the sub-region as these yields depend upon increasing population on daily basis, he said.
“It is the believe of most people that for the world to feed the over growing population and in the face of climate change, it is important to develop innovative actions that will allow food and agriculture to use traditional and new findings to increase productions for consumption and industries”
One of such ways is to promote linkages between disciplines and adoption of genetic policies for our system, he said.
Mr Luigi Guarino, Senior Science Coordinator of the Global Crop Diversity Trust said the body aims at accelerating the use of conserved crop diversity in the pilot project in Ghana, Nigeria and Mali working with four crops namely cowpea, pearl millet, sorghum and yam.
Through national consultations, the trust engages with experts from national conservation and breeding programmes in target countries to identify bottle necks in the use of gene banks collections, and develop activities to address them.
The project said through the stimulation of the flow of conserved genetic diversity down the “use pipeline” will help demonstrate the importance of link between conservation and use for adopting agriculture to climate change and increasing food security.
Dr Ahmed Baba Salifu, Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research called for more attention to be given to crop production especially when the world is faced with the repercussions of climate change.
He said there is the need for innovative actions that would allow food and agriculture to use traditional and new findings to increase production for consumption and industries.