By Kwabia Owusu-Mensah GNA
Fumesua, (Ash), Mar 09, GNA - The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) has appealed for increased national support to develop and produce botanical pesticides to aid food production.
Dr. Daniel Aniagyei Ofori, the Director, said it had already conducted research into tree species, which could be used to produce non-harmful and highly effective pesticides for farming.
He indicated that they were having a difficulty going into large scale production of these because of the lack of funds and logistical support.
He was briefing the Minister of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, on research activities of the Institute at Fumesua in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality.
The Minister was in the Ashanti Region to acquaint himself with the operation and the challenges faced by institutions under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Dr. Ofori said the high point of bio-pesticides was that these were not harmful and environmentally-friendly to food and cash crop production.
He mentioned the neem tree and Jathopha as some of the trees, which had proven to be suitable for bio pesticide production.
He spoke of the production of the 'Prekese Syrup' by the Institute, which had been certified by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) and was on the market.
'Prekese' is believed to have chemical properties which can be used to manage hypertension and other heart conditions.
He said studies were ongoing to identify high-yielding and early maturing 'prekese' trees to establish plantations for sustainable supply of the raw material for production.
Dr. Ofori hinted of a number of model technologies and innovations to support agroforestry for climate resilience, food security and job creation.
Added to these, were technologies for sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation, alongside allometric equations for above ground and below ground biomass estimation, used in mapping of forest cover and carbon stock.
FORIG has also established seed orchards and seed stands, engaged in the production of improved seeds and seedlings for planting, site-species matching and techniques for planting establishments.
Again, there was the production of briquette from sawn dust for biofuel energy and an extender for plywood production from cassava.
Dr. Ofori pointed out that it had the expertise to develop technologies that would help protect the nation's natural resources and its biodiversity, promote efficient utilization of forest timber and non-timber products, identify medicinal and food products to improve the lives of the people.
Prof Frimpong Boateng commended FORIG for its achievement and said it was time research outcomes by local scientists were fully utilize for the benefit of the nation.