Transforming agriculture requires applying scientific solutions

Technology is, indeed, a great enhancer. Peoples’ lives have been made a lot easier and great feats have been achieved by technological advancement. A feature story in today’s edition of the B&FT by noted agriculture writer Nana Akyaa Akosa proves how technology has seen a country like Israel, which is literally located in desert surroundings, become a powerhouse in agriculture.

Juxtaposing it with Ghana – a country in the tropics with abundant fertile land, sunshine and adequate rainfall – which is still struggling to cope with food security, it’s rather embarrassing. The transformation of the agriculture sector cannot be achieved without incorporating technology; employing improved/enhanced seeds, applying fertiliser, and mechanisation of processes will ensure better yields and improve productivity.

The writer shows how 85% of sewage water is recycled in Israel for agricultural purposes – and this shows how determined Israeli authorities are in achieving ends. In a nutshell, the lesson shared by the writer is that the flagship ‘Planting for Food and jobs’ is a feasible and doable undertaking that needs all seriousness attached to it for it to succeed.

The Agriculture Minister, Dr. Akoto-Afriyie, has indicated that this year’s programme will involve over 700,000 farmers, and providing them with improved seeds, fertilisers and agro-inputs at subsidised prices is a good start.

With the improved seeds that are drought and pest-resistant, we are assured good yields from the five priority crops of the programme. The fertiliser distribution programme also has to be better managed to ensure all registered farmers can access the input. Finally, we should employ more scientific solutions that the Crop Research Institute produces – and scientific research also requires more funding.

Israel’s brilliant agriculture story is a result of determined effort at producing enough soil nutrients to sustain crop growth, and they employed the benefits of technology to achieve their success. In Ghana, we do not need half the effort of Israel to be food self-sufficient.