The Acting Director of the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI), Nyankpala, Dr. Saaka Buah has called on the government to establish a sustainable source of funding for agricultural research in order to promote improved agricultural technologies for enhanced agricultural productivity.
Dr. Saaka Buah made this call while speaking in an interview after a demonstration session which was meant to introduce farmers of the Upper East Region to improved agricultural technologies at CSIR-SARI’s Technology Park, established with support from Agriculture Manufacturing Group Limited. 200 farmers from six districts namely; Bawku Municipal, Bawku West, Tempane, Garu, Binduri and Pusiga Districts were introduced to new improved crop varieties and proven best farming practices that would lead to quality crop yields.
According to the Acting Director, CSIR- SARI aims at addressing farming challenges and building a resilient agriculture sector so as to promote high and quality crop yields to contribute to food security while maintaining a fertile land for continuous production. He, therefore, explained that his outfit has been keen on promoting the use of organic fertilizers and legumes which reduces the amount of chemical fertilizer applied on farm, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing significantly in addressing climate change issues in agriculture.
He explained that CSIR-SARI has been endowed with the necessary scientists to carry out proper research that could help reduce the challenges that Ghanaian farmers face, help increase crop production and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Commenting on the challenges CSIR-SARI faces and how to address them, Dr. Saaka Buah called on the government to implement and resource adequately the proposed Science and Technology Fund to ensure that CSIR-SARI carries its mandated work as the main agricultural research organ of the government so as to make agriculture more attractive, profitable and resilient.
“Funding is the greatest problem we face, government pays our salaries but to carry out any research, we really have to write proposals; so we are always looking for proposals. Sometimes you will go into a community and identify a problem that farmers face and yet you will be constrained with resources to undertake research towards addressing the issue.”Dr. Saaka Buah
Dr Buah noted that the CSIR-SARI engages in farmer-needs and demand-driven research to address the challenges in agriculture, adding that when the Science and Technology Fund is incorporated into the annual budget, resources would be made available for its activities. He added that agriculture research is central in achieving high agriculture productivity and yields and therefore advocated for adequate investment be made towards supporting scientists to undertake more research.
Touching on weeds management during the demonstration, the Acting Director who identified overdependence on rainfall to undertake agriculture coupled with poor soil fertility and inadequate application of fertilizer as major causes of poor agriculture yields in northern Ghana particularly the Upper East Region, urged farmers to practice crop rotation to fight striga.
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