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Opinion | Aug 13, 2018

Curing Joblessness Through Crops Research

By Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh
Curing Joblessness Through Crops Research

We need to find lasting meaning for free Senior High School (SHS) in full employment for all my compatriots. Education, not just schooling, is to equip the individual with liveable thinking and doing, brain and hand combined skills; skills that will keep every individual occupied in activities that benefit self,  family, community, society and nation. The Crops Research Institute (CRI) at Fumesua, Kumasi has a ready answer to joblessness.

All nations seek development. However, those who succeed seem to be the ones which are able to look around their surroundings, pick out what belongs to them and transform it into what others would crave. It is creating market for what you sell.

Aa a motherland, we have had opportunities we just blew, not take advantage of, to leverage our advancement as a people. In the 1970s and 1980s and probably now, our education system had produced human capital (surplus) we could have exploited to boost our foreign exchange earnings. Well-trained Ghanaians have travelled all over the world to Tierra del Fuego, Cape Town, Reykjavik, or Nunavut.

They, on their own, have found gainful employment wherever they have found themselves and have been remitting home to shore up our foreign reserves. Earnings would be greater if our governments have been strategically contracting out labour with needy foreign counterparts for money that would be topped up with the remittances as organised national income.

So what has all this got to do with CRI? Well, it has everything to do with CRI as an opportunity we refuse to capitalise on. We seem to be sitting and looking askance, either because we don't know or because it is too difficult (actually very easy and makes a lot of sense) to make it happen.  CRI has the knowledge which is available for anyone interested to use to benefit self and country.

CRI also has the expertise to apply the knowledge. One of the simplest examples is their capacity to assemble a team of experts that will establish a complete crop farm and transfer to whomever is desirous. A beneficiary further continues to receive further knowledge and skills support from the Institute thenceforth.

If this arrangement would not provide food and jobs, there is hardly another that can match, let alone, surpass it. CRI has developed, seed varieties that will grow in any part of our country; climate zones, terrain, vegetation and location, all notwithstanding. If they don't have the seeds you want, they will show you where to get them. Add expertise in disease, pest and weed control. It is, indeed, a one stop shopping for farm establishment or improvement where it exists.

All that means added income to the national kitty. Successful farming will put money in the hands of farmers and their workers who would take care of their children and family. Taxes paid by them will increase public funds available for government projects that better the lives of the people. So on with development it would be. CRI breeds healthier crops and cures them when diseased.

For the creation of jobs, no one does it better than CRI.  There are CRI inspired jobs readily available for employment to all who exit at the various transition points in our schooling system. The farming education techniques it provides can quickly be picked up by anyone who exits at any of the transition points in our schooling system: JHS, SHS, first degree and postgraduate.

Patronising the activities of CRI is also working to promote research. The more people and agencies access its products, the more encouraged the Institute will be, and the more funding will come to it, to pursue more and better research to feed the system. More food, especially extra food, will take us back to the good old 1970s when we were able to produce in excess and export surplus food.

It is the dream of any organisation that conducts research to find the results of its work converted into action for human good. It gains clout with which it is able to attract funds to intensify its research efforts for greater outcome which then positively impacts lives of citizens.

All that means is that, as a people, we need to believe in the need to plant for food security and that planting is job creation. We would then realise that there is no place better than CRI of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to initiate, support and ensure results in that endeavour.

I believe long before today, the Institute was created to do exactly that. Whatever was envisaged as a purpose for it then has even greater relevance today to plant the good seeds, protect the yield and create jobs for my compatriots. It needs transformative support in funding to deliver.

By Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh

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