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21.03.2006 Business & Finance

CSIR overcomes Cape St Paul's disease - Churcher


Accra, March 21, GNA - Ms Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science, on Tuesday said the hybrid coconut developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to replace those destroyed by the Cape St Paul's Wilt Disease was almost ready for replanting.

She said seed garden of the tolerant hybrid established at Anyinase in the Western Region had started bearing fruit to enable farmers to replant the devastated areas at an estimated rate of 1,000 hectares per year.

Ms Churcher, who took her turn at the weekly Meet-the-Press series in Accra, said in 2005 the Ministry with the assistance of the French Government through the CSIR-Oil-Palm Research Institute identified the hybrid, which was tolerant to the Cape St. Paul Wilt Disease. The Cape St. Paul Wilt disease devastated large plantations of coconuts, especially along the coastal parts of the country in the late 1980s.

She said the Food Research Institute of the CSIR had also developed a high quality Bambara groundnuts flour technology leading to the revival of the dying Bambara industry.

The Bambara groundnut planted mainly in four districts in the Northern part of the country was at the brink of dying out due to limited usage.

The CSIR's has revived the industry and improved the livelihoods of the farming communities in the four districts namely, Tolon, Kumbungu, Savelugu and Nanton, Ms Churcher said. Ms Churcher said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), poverty data levels and the health of the population, which determined the growth of the economy, depended on the environment and the use of the natural capital.

She said until Ghanaians recognized the environment as a pillar of development and used it wisely the future of the nation would be inadvertently doomed.

She said the principle of sustainable development to which Ghana was expected to abide by would ensure that the environment, with the application of science and technology would not be compromised. "The low level of recognition and application of science and technology as a result of negative cultural attitudes and behaviours that militated against prudent environmental practices were some of the challenges facing the Ministry," she said.

Ms Churcher said it was sad that till date there was no institutional or legal framework that enabled the Ministry to enforce all the pieces of legislation that governed the sustainable management of the environment and science.

"The management of all environmental resources are governed by specific statutes assigned to specific portfolio ministries such as water, land, mining, forestry, fisheries, wildlife, agriculture, health, waste and sanitation, rural development and trade among many other areas.

"The Ministry is, therefore, one of a coordinating unit, rather than one with a specific mandate," she said.