Ghana has become the second country to join the African Union (AU) initiative “Science Agenda”; showing the highest political commitment towards the agenda.
The Science Agenda (S3A) aims to help countries leverage science and innovation towards achieving the agriculture and agro-industry vision of nations.
It also aims to ensure that by 2030, Africa is food secure, a global scientific player and the world’s breadbasket with the goal of doubling public and private sector investment into agricultural research for development.
The S3A was adopted at the AU Heads of State Summit in 2014 for agriculture, and was ratified as a framework within the context of the Accelerated Agriculture Growth Strategy.
Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, and Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, signed the Science Agenda Commitment on behalf of Ghana.
The Board Chairman of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr. Ephraim Mukisira, signed on behalf of his organisation.
FARA, as the technical arm of the African Union Commission, will lead the implementation of the S3A.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said Africa, and in particular, Ghana, had a lot to learn from the advanced countries where only five per cent of farmers fed their respective countries and had enough to export to other countries.
He said, “We need to improve our science and technology and that is exactly what we are doing in Ghana. If you look at many areas like the cocoa sector and the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, there is a lot going on there.”
He added that Ghana was not only targeting agricultural yields but also processing, which would help prevent post-harvest loses and by 2050, the young population of Africa would require more food since population is increasing while land sizes were decreasing.
According to Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, with the signing of the Agenda, efforts at using science in agricultural production would be boosted and would enable Ghana to have enough produce for both consumption and for industries including the poultry industry.
He said the Government was determined to applying science, technology and innovation in soil preparation, getting the right seeds for planting and harvesting and processing the food for storage to prevent post-harvest losses.
According to Dr. Akoto, the signing of S3A marked the implementation of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa, which he described as a “formality as far as agriculture in Ghana is concerned.”
He said the Government had been making great efforts for the transformation of agriculture through the flagship programme; planting for Food and Jobs, which was all about the application of science.
“The application of improved seed and fertilisers for small holder farmers is the heart of the Planting for food and Jobs programme,” he added.
Dr. Mukisira commended Ghana for being among the initial five countries including Rwanda, Egypt, Malawi and Senegal that have been identified to start the implementation of the S3A.
“I am happy that Ghana was chosen by many stakeholders as one of these countries based on the progress and commitment of the Government of Ghana on agriculture transformation,” he said.