Ghana has committed to “Science Agenda,” an African Union initiative, which is to help countries leverage science and innovation towards achieving the agriculture and agro-industry vision of nations.
The Science Agenda (S3A) for agriculture was adopted at the AU Heads of State Summit in 2014 and ratified as a framework within the context of the Accelerated Agricultural Growth Strategy.
This is to deepen the application of Science as the quickest way to ending hunger and halving poverty by 2025.
The Science Agenda Commitment was signed on behalf of Ghana by Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, and Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, while Dr Ephraim Mukisira, Board Chairman of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), signed for his organisation.
FARA, the technical arm of the African Union Commission (AUC) has been mandated to lead the implementation of the S3A as a direct follow-on action to spur the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, adopted in 2003 in Maputo.
By signing the S3A, Ghana becomes the second country after Benin to show the highest political commitment towards the agenda.
The Science Agenda also aims at ensuring 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.
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 said Ghana was not only targeting agricultural yields but also processing, which would help prevent post-harvest loses.
He said pretty soon by 2050, the young population of Africa would require more food since the population is increasing and the land sizes were decreasing.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said 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.
Dr Akoto, on his part, said 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.
On his part, 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 indicated.