Ghana: Biotechnology to Improve Agriculture
In its quest to accelerate improvement in agricultural productivity, the government of Ghana says it is ready to explore biotechnology through collaboration with research institutions.
The country’s Agriculture and Food Minister Kwesi Ahwoi said Ghana would liaise with the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) to help reap the full benefits of biotechnology. Ghana intends to accelerate the modernisation and commercialisation of agriculture without sacrificing bio-safety concerns.
At the First Pan–African Biotechnology Stewardship Conference in Accra on Tuesday, Ahwoi said modern biotechnology tools held considerable promise to develop crop varieties and livestock breeds to withstand the stresses in the country.
The meeting was held under the theme “Africa Managing Safe and High-Quality Biotech Crops”.
Biotechnology is the use of biological materials to produce or modify products or processes in agriculture or industrial production.
Crop production in Ghana is largely rain-fed and the country says with the increasing land degradation and low levels of irrigation, climate change could significantly reverse the little progress being made towards poverty eradication and food security.
Experts say Ghana’s challenge now is to increase yields by increasing fertilizer application, moving away from dependency on rain to irrigated agriculture and reducing the tractor ratio from one machine per 1,500 farmers to one per 500 in the medium term.
Ramadjita Tabo, Executive Director of the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA), said in spite of the 15 years of successful commercialisation of Genetically Modified (GMO) crops, progress in the adoption of the technology had been slow in Africa despite the political will, which now existed in many African countries.