Fumesua (Ash), Oct 27, GNA - Miss Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science, has suggested the advancement of measures for swift commercialisation of science and technology research results if Ghana is poised to work towards achievement of sustainable economic development in the shortest possible time.
She said in this regard, it was crucial for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to initiate more effective strategies to strengthen ties not only with the private sector, but also the District Assemblies, educational institutions and the general public in order to facilitate achievement of such a goal.
Miss Churcher was addressing the opening session of the 16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Research Staff Association (RSA) of the CSIR at Fumesua near Kumasi on Thursday.
The two-day meeting, under the theme, "Food, Water and Health For All: The Role of CSIR", is being attended by representatives of all the 13 institutions of the CSIR.
The sector Minister said the NPP government recognizes that the application of science and technology to socio-economic development, is a crucial factor in Ghana's overall "Macro-economic development strategy, and is therefore committed to rely on science and technology as the cornerstone of its development efforts for all sectors of the economy.
The government will thus go at all lengths to create necessary environment to enhance the well-being of science and technology institutions in the country, she stressed.
Miss Churcher said apart from creating the necessary environment for development of science and technology to flourish, "the Government is equally set to create the right environment for the private sector to take up technologies and research findings developed by institutions to enhance productivity of the private sector."
Professor E. Owusu-Bennoah, Director-General of the CSIR, said in spite of its constraints, the Crop Research Institute (CRI) was able to release 30 improved varieties of various crops to farmers under the President's Special Initiatives (PSI) for last year. He said the improved varieties developed and supplied by the CRI made significant impact on the agricultural production of the farmers.
Prof. Owusu-Bennoah said the varieties included soybeans, garden eggs, pepper, yam, cassava, cowpea, sweet potatoes, rice and groundnuts. He renewed the appeal for setting up of a Science, Technology and Innovation Fund, to sustain the funding of agriculture and other science, technology and innovation related research activities in the country.
He said setting up of the Fund, even though crucial to development and effective research work, has not been given a hearing despite repeated appeals and reminders.
"The most serious limitation to our activities is the issue of funding, which affects not only the provision of infrastructure and the general operation, but also is the root cause of the loss of motivation currently experienced by most research scientists", Professor Owusu-Bennoah added.
Mr. Boasiako Ohene Antwi, President of the RSA, said industrial action in the CSIR, even though was not the best means of addressing their grievances, would continue until the frustrations and bottlenecks in the conditions of service of the Council are fully addressed.