Ghana and Brazil yesterday ushered in a landmark strategic partnership to spearhead agricultural revolution in Africa with the inauguration of a Regional Office of Brazil's famous Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) in Accra. Ghana made available 500,000 dollars towards the establishment of the Office.
President John Agyekum Kufuor and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is in the country to attend the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development meeting, jointly performed the ceremony.
The Accra Office, among other things, would facilitate technical co-operation activities for agricultural development, technology transfer, ensure availability of research findings to industry and enhance human resource capacity building. Additionally, it is designed to help to deepen South-South co-operation through collaboration of Ghanaian and Brazilian scientists to the mutual benefit of Ghana and other African countries.
EMBRAPA, established in April 1973, has developed into a major world player in agricultural research and technology development, contributing an estimated 40 billion dollars to Brazil's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
President Kufuor said the close collaboration with the Brazilian institutions would result in the sharing of knowledge, transfer of appropriate technologies and best practices for radical transformation of agriculture in Ghana and other African nations. 'The goal is to achieve food security and make Africa a net exporter of agricultural produce,' President Kufuor said.
He said in the past, increase in agricultural production in Africa was achieved by putting more land under cultivation. However, with the present climatic changes and emerging environmental concerns, maximisation of production must come through irrigation, use of fertilizers and application of biotechnology.
President Kufuor said the hope of the Government was that EMBRAPA would complement the country's efforts to stimulate national economic activity through agriculture.
President Lula da Silva said he was confident that with the inauguration, Ghana will make a big difference by way of its contribution to the transformation of agriculture in Africa.'Ghana would be a different country from today,' he declared. He described the inauguration of the Accra Office as a fulfilment of his commitment to the Region.
Brazil, he said, wanted to engage in more projects that would bring it closer to the Continent. He said their priority was to give technical training and support the Office with the tools to build its own future.