The Korean Programme on International Agriculture (KOPIA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to support the council to expand its commercialisation operations.
Under the agreement, KOPIA will support the Animal Research Institute (ARI) and the Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the CSIR to produce poultry breeds and rice seedlings, respectively, for commercial purposes.
Currently, the ARI and the CRI produce the products in small quantities due to financial constraints.
At the signing ceremony at the CSIR Head Office in Accra last Wednesday were the Director of KOPIA, Dr Cho Gyoungrae, who signed for his outfit, and the Director of the ARI, Prof. Emmanuel Adu, and the Director of the CRI, Dr Moses B. Mochiah, who signed for their respective institutes.
The witnesses were the Korean Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Kim Sungsoo, and the Director General of the CSIR, Professor Victor Kwame Agyemang.
Prof. Agyemang commended KOPIA and the Korean government for being supportive of Ghana’s agricultural sector.
He said the CSIR had, through research, produced quality rice seedlings and poultry breeds which were resistant to diseases but could not produce them in large quantities to reach all corners of the country.
He said that had been a very huge challenge to the council, adding: “But through the help of KOPIA and the Korean government, I’m much hopeful that this predicament is going to be tackled.”
Strong policy commitment
Dr Gyoungrae, for his part, stated that the government of Ghana had a strong policy commitment to food self-sufficiency, hence the introduction of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
He, however, noted that there had been some challenges, including irrigation and agricultural land clearance, which had been a hindrance to the initiative.
He said following the agreement, the two institutes would be revitalised, have improved agricultural infrastructure and jointly develop and distribute agricultural technology.
He added that through that, the productivity of Ghanaian farmers would increase, their incomes improve and they would help push the government’s food self-sufficiency policy.
The Korean Ambassador, Mr Sungsoo, for his part, noted that Ghana had a very great potential to increase its rice and poultry production and that could be done if it applied technology and invested more in agricultural research.
He stated that the agricultural sector was very important with regard to development and urged the government to pay more attention to it to help accelerate the national development effort.
“Ghana has a very great potential but little needs to be done on technology to help improve on agriculture.
This will help bring about new initiatives to enable the country to attain a Ghana Beyond Aid,” he said.
On poultry, the Director of the ARI, Prof. Adu, said over the years the poultry industry had not been performing as expected due to the challenges of mortality and the high cost of production.
He said in the developed world, farmers reared birds in six weeks at the weight of 1.8 kilogrammes, adding that farmers in Ghana could not compete with them because there were no mechanisms in place to achieve such results.
Prof. Adu announced that the institute had developed a poultry breed to be able to attain that standard, adding that the breed had a 97 per cent survival rate and had adapted locally.
He said the challenge now was how to get the day-old chicks to the market.
“The collaboration is going to fund us to keep the grandparents and the parent stock to be able to produce enough commercials that we can disseminate into the industry and get people to benefit from the high quality birds that we have bred,” he disclosed.