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Agriculture students urged to employ biotechnology to expand agric

By gna

Dr. Sarku Simons, last year's National Best Farmer, on Friday advised the University of Cape Coast (UCC) branch of the Ghana Association of Agric Students (GAAS) to adopt bio-technology methods to expand the frontiers of agriculture.

He said biotechnology methods could speed the transformation of agriculture to facilitate food security.

This will save the country from the high malnutrition particularly among children in deprived areas, and pregnant women which he described as “worrisome”.

Dr Simons said this at a durbar organised by UCC-GAAS as part of its annual green week celebration on the theme “food security: bedrock for national development.”

He expressed concern about the high rate of malnourished children in Africa due to poor agricultural practices with its attendant low production and eventually high cost of food and diary products.

The best farmer, who is a medical officer, underscored the need for government to develop the political will and make immense investment in agricultural research and education to produce a cream of agricultural scientists who would change the face of the country's agriculture sector.

“The input of farmers with four years of primary education is on the average 94% higher than a farmer with no education” and stressed the need for those seeking to go into agriculture to acquire higher education to give the agricultural profession a facelift for the socio-economic benefit of the nation.

He said hunger and malnutrition in the country and Africa in general could be eliminated if adequate attention was paid to agriculture.

“At the moment agriculture accounts for only 9 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in developing countries,” and described it as grossly insufficient for its ever growing population.

Mr. Emmanuel Abole, lecturer at the Crop Science Department and President of the UCC branch of the University Teachers Association Ghana (UTAG), also appealed to journalists to develop interest in “agricultural journalism” to highlight agricultural issues to help educate the public as well as keep government on its toes, on matters and policies concerning agriculture.

Professor Joseph Kwarteng, Dean of the School of Agriculture, said the school would soon undertake a poultry project and urged the students not to see it as only an academic exercise but a profitable business venture.