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18.08.2004 Regional News

Debrah says research in agriculture should benefit farmers

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Tamale, Aug 18, GNA - Mr Ernest Debrah, the Northern Regional Minister, has appealed to agricultural research institutions to make their findings practical and rural farmers must understand them.

He said over the years research findings had not been implemented but kept in cupboards to gather dust and asked.

"For how long will we continue to organise workshops when we don't feel their impact?''

Mr Debrah was addressing the opening of a four-day workshop for agricultural research scientists and extension officers and partner NGOs drawn from the three Northern regions on Tuesday.

The Association of Churches Development Projects (ACDEP) a Christian NGO organised the workshop with sponsorship from the Farmers Project, an affiliate of the ACDEP.

The workshop brought together 80 agricultural development officers from the three Northern regions.

Mr Debrah said the impact of research findings was not felt because some extension officers "do not impart the knowledge they acquire at such workshops to farmers on the field".

Mr Debrah said it was because of the importance the government attaches to the agricultural sector that it imported 1,000 tractors from India this year in its efforts at modernizing.

He said the government had also been tackling the problem of post-harvest losses through treatment and preservation of some crops. Mr Malex Alebikiya, Executive Secretary of ACDEP, said his organisation was working in collaboration with the government to find ways in which poverty, disease, illiteracy and ignorance could be reduced.

He said ACDEP and other religious organizations were exploring possibilities to improve poultry and livestock production in the north. ACDEP has also initiated a programme to organise farmers' cooperatives and production and marketing enterprises to assist farmers to market their produce.