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25.01.2006 General News

Invest in research - CSIR D-G

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Accra, Jan. 25, GNA - Professor Emmanuel Owusu-Bennoah, Director-General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, on Friday said the country's inability to invest in research was a hindrance to the improvement in the quality of life of its people. He said sustainable improvement in the quality of life of a people was not possible without investment in research and development at levels above one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of that nation.

"Unfortunately our investment is only 0.3 per cent of our GDP," he said.

Prof Owusu-Bennoah was addressing about 40 participants attending a day's workshop on "Eleven Years of the Department For International Development (DFID) Funded Post-Harvest Research in West Africa". The workshop was to present to stakeholders some of the key outputs of the 49 projects the DFID Crop Post-Harvest programme funded in Ghana over the past 11 years.

Prof Owusu-Bennoah said it was prudent that the nation took rigorous and systematic research works in the field of agriculture, science, technology and innovative policy studies to enhance the quality of life of the people.

He said; "investment in research was the sunlight required for the process to occur; the more you have it the greater the results". Dr Nii Okai Hammond, Deputy Minister, Food and Agriculture said agricultural development was critical to the present and future economic growth and improvement in the welfare of the people.

He said; "the Ministry of Food and Agriculture considered the attainment of food security, raw materials production for industry and improving the standard of farmers as being of the highest priority. "The long term objective is to transform agriculture into a highly productive and responsive sector of the economy," he said. Dr Hammond admitted that post-harvest research was key to solving the problem and told the participants about the Government's preparedness to create an enabling environment that would encourage progress toward the attainment of food security, paying attention to post-harvest research and agro-industrial development.

Dr Ben Dadzie, the West African Regional Co-ordinator for DFID Crop Post- Harvest Programme (CPHP), said the 11-year project was focused on reducing post- harvest losses, improving food safety and quality, adding value to primary crops through better marketing, more efficient storage, processing innovations and development of small enterprises. He said crops used for the research activities including cereals, roots and tubers, legumes, oil seed vegetables and fruits and were designed to benefit the rural and urban poor, small-scale producers and consumers of food crops and small agric businesses.