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26.07.2005 General News

Let's collaborate with research institutions for food security


Accra, July 26, GNA - Mr. Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) on Tuesday said without effective collaboration with research it would be impossible to achieve increased food production and productivity levels needed to ensure the achievement of the nation's vision of becoming a middle -level country.

The Ministry, he noted, was therefore collaborating with research institutions of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to achieve this objective.

This was contained in a speech read by Mr Kweku Owusu-Baah, Chief Director, MOFA at the end of a two-day round-table between Civil Society and Government on "Meeting the Pressing Challenges of Food Security in Ghana", organised by FOODSPAN, a food security and policy advocacy group with sponsorship from Action Aid International, Ghana and the European Union.

Mr Debrah said significant strides had been made to ensure food security in the livestock sector through the local production of Thermostable I Vaccine against Newcastle disease, which devastates local chicken every year.

"Improved breeding stock of the indigenous cattle, sheep, goats and pigs are being developed at the six nucleus-breeding stations at Nungua, Amrahia, Ejura, Kintampo, Pong-Tamale and Babile for distribution to farmers," he said.

He said under the small ruminant and poultry improvement programme of the Upper West Agriculture Development project, 6,000 improved Guinea Keets have been brooded and distributed to farmers. Mr. Debrah said the Ministry was exploring all water harvesting and conservation methods to promote sustainable food production. In this direction, the Ministry he noted, had successfully developed and constructed a wind pump for abstracting ground water in collaboration with the Village Infrastructure Programme (VIP) and the private sector.

Mr. Debrah said the Ministry, with assistance of the FAO has developed several hectares of land for the cultivation of millet, sorghum, rice, plantain and vegetable through improved water control systems across the country.

He said under the Root and Tuber Improvement Programme, farmers were being supplied with planting materials and finding avenues for them to market their produce.

"Indeed the President's Special Initiative on Cassava is a way of ensuring that farmers have ready markets for their cassava and thereby improve their income levels," Mr Debrah said.

On Fisheries, Mr Daniel Dugan, deputy Minister, MOFA said Ghana's fisheries resources were over exploited and continued to decline in both quantity and quality and that the over exploitation of fish was a threat to rural livelihood and food security.

He said the industry also faced many setbacks due to inefficient fishing boats and gear and lack of financial sources. To reverse this trend, Mr. Debrah said, it was important to implement policies and strategies that would address the fish resource depletion and to ensure food security on sustainable basis. He mentioned some of the strategies such as the transfer of knowledge and appropriate technologies for sustainable fisheries development and the encouragement of the use of market instruments to ensure responsible fisheries management. 26 July 05