The Savannah Agriculture Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) has called on the government to establish a sustainable funding source to promote continued agriculture research to enhance agriculture productivity.
Dr Saaka Buah, Acting Director, CSIR-SARI, Nyankpala, said agriculture research was central in achieving high agriculture productivity and yields and advocated adequate investment be made towards supporting scientists to undertake more research.
The Acting Director made the call during an interview with the media after CSIR-SARI, Manga Station, had introduced farmers from six districts of the Upper East Region to improved technologies at its Technology Park, established with support from the Agriculture Manufacturing Group (AMG) Limited, a local fertilizer producer and distributor.
He explained that CSIR-SARI was endowed with the necessary scientists to carry out proper research that could help reduce the challenges that Ghanaian farmers faced and help increase production and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
As a research institute, he said, the CSIR-SARI was aimed at addressing farming challenges and building a resilient agriculture economy that promoted high and quality yields, contributed to food and security and cutting down importation while maintaining fertile land for continued production.
Therefore, Dr Buah explained, the Institute was keen on promoting the use of organic fertilizers and legumes, which reduced amount of fertilizer applied on the farm to reduce greenhouse effects emission which would contribute significantly to addressing climate change phenomenon.
“Funding is the greatest problem we face, government pays our salaries but to carry our 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,” he lamented.
He said government needed to implement and resource adequately the proposed Science and Technology Fund to ensure that CSIR-SARI as the main agricultural research organ of the government carried out its mandated work to make agriculture attractive, profitable and resilient.
Dr Buah noted that the CSIR-SARI engaged in farmer needs and demand-driven research to address the challenges in agriculture and noted that when the Science and Technology Fund was incorporated into the annual budget, resource would be made available for its activities.
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 practise crop rotation to fight striga.
About 200 farmers from six districts; 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 yields.
The demonstration further brought together beneficiary District Directors of the Department of Agriculture, the Agriculture Extension Agents as well as staff of CSIR-SARI.