The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie, has called for innovative approach to farming and agriculture in general to help increase food production and address the glaring food insecurity in West Africa.

Dr Afriyie said closer collaboration between public and private sector, especially among academia and research institutions was critical to creating an environment that nurtures innovation and empowers farmers for agricultural excellence.

He noted that ensuring food security in the entire sub region, including Ghana remained a major challenge that required urgent attention and concerted efforts by all.

He said fostering partnerships, sharing knowledge, and facilitating the transfer of technology were key to ensuring that farmers have access to tools and techniques they need to thrive.

“The role of science and technology in advancing agricultural production cannot be overemphasised. We must harness the power of scientific advancements to enable our farmers to produce more, lose less, improve productivity and enhance livelihoods”, he noted.

34th CORAF meeting

Dr Afriyie made the call at the 34th ordinary session of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) Board of Directors meeting hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Ghana last Tuesday in Accra.

The event brought together academia, researchers, policy makers and private institutions across Africa to discuss matters surrounding the science, technology and innovation in agriculture.

He said by empowering our farmers with scientific know-how and modern agricultural practices, we can elevate their livelihoods, improve food security and derive sustainable development.“Let us embrace the power of science, technology, and innovation to revolutionise agriculture and pave the way for a brighter future,” he added.
Adopting tech advancement

He mentioned that CORAF was playing a key role in the areas of agricultural research and development in the sub-region where it has always shown greater leadership by supporting member countries.

These activities, he said can evidently be observed through the number of research rolled out per year and the quantum of funding for the various Research and Development (R&D) projects.
Therefore, he said it was incumbent upon member countries to create an enabling environment that encourages the adoption of scientific knowledge and technology advancements in Ghana.
The executive Director of CORAF, Dr Abdou Tenkouano, commended CSIR Ghana for the major transformation in the country’s food processing and advised that they build the capacity of students in the universities right from the start to ensure the continuity of their good work in the near future.
Investing in innovation

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong, commended CORAF for its significant role played in the agricultural sector in the West Africa sub region.

He explained that agriculture remains the backbone of economies of several countries in Africa, adding that “in Ghana for instance, the agricultural sector employs 38.3 per cent of the workforce and contributes about 20 per cent to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

It is known to be one of the sectors that has the potential to uplift communities out of poverty and improve their livelihoods.
He emphasised that despite the importance of the sector, the sub region was faced with challenges such as low productivity, food insecurity, climate change, pests and diseases among others. “Indeed we cannot turn around our story if we do not play an active role or invest in research and innovation.” Mr Acheampong said.