The Africa Regional Office of the Brazilian Agricultural Corporation (EMBRAPA), was yesterday commissioned jointly by President J.A. Kufuor and the visiting Brazilian leader, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in Accra.
The Africa Regional Office of EMBRAPA, located on the premises of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), will facilitate technical cooperation activities in the area of technology transfer for agricultural development in Africa.
The office will also ensure the deepening of South-South co-operation and promote the collaboration of Ghanaian and Brazilian scientists in activities which will mutually benefit Ghana and other African countries.
In addition, the EMBRAPA office will facilitate the sharing of research findings and enhance Ghana’s image as a major regional agricultural research centre as well as ensure the availability of research findings to industry to enhance human resource capacity development.
President Kufuor said it was gratifying that EMBRAPA, which was established in 1973, has spearheaded Brazil’s efforts at attaining self sufficiency in food production and sustainable economic growth, contributing about 40 billion dollars to Brazil’s Gross Domestic Product annually.
EMBRAPA, he said, has also developed more than 9000 technologies that have projected Brazil beyond the attainment of food security to ensuring energy security and environmental protection as well as agro processing.
Though Africa and Brazil have had long historic and cultural ties, he said the establishment of an African regional office for EMBRAPA puts the relationship in an era of scientific and technological research cooperation in the field of agriculture and also shows a true spirit of South-South cooperation.
President Kufuor expressed gratitude to President Lula and the government and people of Brazil for their willingness to share their know-how and technologies with the people of Africa and for choosing Ghana to host the continent’s office of EMBRAPA.
He described President Lula as a 'truly internationally transformational President' who has devoted much of his time to share his wealth of knowledge and experience with African nations.
He said it was the expectation of Ghana and other African countries that the close cooperation with EMBRAPA will result in the sharing of knowledge, transfer of appropriate technologies and best practices and ultimately, a radical transformation in agriculture.
President Kufuor said full diplomatic priviledges and immunities have been granted to cover the staff and property of EMBRAPA regional office as enshrined in the Memorandum of Understanding for the setting of EMBRAPA in April 2006.
On his part, President da Silva reiterated Brazil’s commitment to assisting Africa develop in many areas.
He said the choice of Ghana as the host of the Africa regional office was an indication of the country’s strategic importance in the scheme of things in Africa and the world at large.
He said over 13 African countries have benefited from the services of EMBRAPA by improving on their crop yields.
President da Silva said the Africa Office of EMBRAPA will pay more attention to giving technical assistance to countries, adding that 'this contribution should be seen as our contribution to Africa to improve on food production and to give Africa a tool to build its future.'
He said Brazil owes it a duty to assist Africa since Africans launched the agricultural revolution in Brazil.
With the establishment of the EMBRAPA office in Ghana, he said 'Ghana will be a different country from today.'