The Crop Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CRI) has launched its technology park to boost food security in the country.
Dubbed “Innovation, Research, Extension and Advisory Coordination Hub” (iREACH), it is aimed at encouraging farmers to adopt the improved agricultural technologies to increase productivity and quality.
It is under the sponsorship of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)with support from the Kansas University in the United States of America, West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) and Africa Rising.
The technologies include improved crop varieties of cowpea, maize, soybean and peanuts.
Among the varieties of the peanuts are CRI Yenyawaso, CRI Dehyee and CRI Obolo.
They have early maturity period between 85-90 days and are tolerant to aflatoxin and high oil content and resistant to rust.
The other improved varieties are roots and tubers such as yam, cassava and sweet potatoes, among others.
At the demonstration, improved agronomic practices and insect pests and diseases management strategies to cultivate the improved crop varieties to increase productivity were also presented to the participants.
Dr P.V Vara Prasad, Director of Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification at the Kansas University, indicated that about 30 per cent of food was lost during harvest, after harvest and storage in both developed and developing countries in the world.
That, he said, had been estimated that about 9.5 billion people worldwide were affected and not having food to eat.
“This means that there is the need to increase and provide access to food for all,” he said.
He urged farmers to use the improved technologies to boost production as he called for effective collaboration between government and non-government institutions, and the need for human and institutions capacity building towards food security.
“We should bring all these together to make sure that the technologies are showcased and disseminated to farmers and entrepreneurs for adoption,” he mentioned.
He advised the youth to take up agricultural production because “agriculture is food, technology, business and health”.
The Project Coordinator, Prof. Emmanuel Otoo, chief research scientist at the CSIR-CRI, said a good number of technologies had been developed which needed to be disseminated to the end users.
However, funds to do that remained a great constraint to the institute, and therefore, appealed to other companies and donors to partner with them to help disseminate the technologies towards food security in the country.
Prof. Moses B. Mochiah, Director, CSIR-CRI, used the occasion to appeal to government to help do away with obsolete machines/equipment to ensure higher productivity.
Some of the farmers noted the technologies had broadened their knowledge and could be applied to cultivate several crops even throughout dry seasons.