21.04.2005 Regional News

CSIR officials call on Minister of Private Sector Development

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Accra, April 21, GNA - The Minister of Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative (PSD/PSI), Mr Kwamena Bartels on Thursday called for in-depth research to increase crop yields to satisfy high market demands.

He said the current yield of cassava, as raw material for the Ayensu Starch Factory, was too low and an enhanced variety was needed to boost the production level of the factory.

Mr Bartels made the call at a meeting with the Board and Council Members of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who called on him to forge collaboration on how best the Council could be utilised to ensure Private Sector Development.

He said though the CSIR had been assisting the Government in areas such as provision of improved oil palm seedlings, the need to be more proactive to ensure further expansion of the market was urgent. Mr Bartels stated that the CSIR in 2004 provided over one million oil palm seedlings valued at about 750,000 dollars.

He said the Government had also been working with the CSIR in the use of cocoa and its by-products for soap, organic fertilizers and cosmetics production.

Mr Bartels said other areas to be deepened included the conversion of cassava waste product into animal feed for the poultry industry, adding that a new PSI to include maize, cashew, sorghum, groundnut, beans and millet would soon be launched in the savannah zone as a step to expand the Private Sector.

Professor Edward Ayensu, Chairman, CSIR, said since the Council's operations were more linked with the Private Sector, the PSI was a welcoming avenue to expand their operations. He stated, however, that in spite of the usefulness of the Council, the Government had not made optimum use of it to boost the economy. Prof. Ayensu said there was hope for expansion and growth of industries with closer collaboration between the CSIR and the Ministry of PSD.

"We need to expand our research capacity to meet the high demands of the global market and strive to attain excellence in all areas of operation," he said.

He urged the Ministry to utilise the pilot projects of the CSIR to boost economic production. 21 April 05

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