The Ghana Institute of Horticulturists (GhIH) has held its 20th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference in Tamale, the Northern regional capital with a call on Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of engaging in backyard gardening to help enhance food security situation of the country.
The two-day event, held at the City Campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS) on theme: ‘Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19; the Role of Horticulture’ brought together researchers, academics, and other key industry players including the Ministry of Agriculture and saw the discussion of important issues of national concern.
Members from different institutions such as the Water Research Institute; UDS; Savanna Agricultural Research Institute; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) among others came together to deliberate on ways to contribute to the development of the agricultural sector as well measures to adapt to encourage the public to consume local foods and vegetables that are of nutritional value.
It was revealed at the meeting that a lack of intake of many fruits and vegetables as well local dishes led to many contracting the diseases and the need for the members to help create awareness on the consumption of local products to help stay healthy.
Norther Regional Director of Agriculture, Hajia Hawa Musah commended the institute for its contribution towards the beautification of society and increase in food production.
She noted that one of the major polices of government to accelerate national development is in the area of agriculture under which horticulture plays a major role. “Government’s strategies in the quest for the transformation of agriculture include the provision of improved seeds, the supply of fertilizer, the provision of dedicated extension services, construction of warehouses, organised market linkages and the use of e-agriculture platforms,” she said.
She stressed that the regional department of agriculture is committed to support institutions that would develop programmes to train more horticulturists to contribute towards achieving its set goals of food sufficiency.
She called on the horticulturists to support government increase the production of horticultural products locally to reduce the importation of similar as a means of creating jobs and making available more fruits and vegetables in Ghana.
Former Executive Director of Cocoa Research Institute (CRI) Dr. Franklin Manu Amoah said issues affecting the sector are lack of policy and therefore the need to develop policies that would help revamp the sector.
He encouraged the mass media to collaborate with GhIH to educate the public on the importance of daily intake of fruits and vegetables to curb the rampant diseases being recorded in the country. He called for support to achieve the sustainable development goals in targeting nutrition and health.
The President of GhIH, Prof Elias N. K Sowley, said the event was aimed at bringing horticulturists together to learn, share and contribute to Ghana’s mainstream horticulture through research and innovation.