Dr Christopher Mensah, Senior Lecturer, Department of Hospitality and Tourism, Ho Technical University has identified lack of research as a major challenge affecting the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the country.
He said despite its role in the development of industry, Ghana was among nations investing lowest in research, a situation he said had resulted in the invariability of SMEs’ output.
Dr Mensah was speaking at the launch of an “Innofood Business Challenge” organised by the MDF, Netherlands-based Training and Consultancy firm, and the Ho Technical University (HTU), to inject research into finding solutions to the food industry’s hurdles.
He said though academic research abounded, they usually served as “avenues of self-actualization to boost self-esteem”.
Dr. Mensah said academic research must not be limited to academic use only and asked that they were formatted for non-academic use.
He underscored the importance of research in food production and challenged academic institutions to collaborate with entrepreneurs in that area to enhance the industry.
Madam Barbara Cruz of the MDF said the programme would collate challenges from food processors, including production, packaging and marketing and would engage students and lecturers of the Hospitality and Tourism Department of HTU to find solutions using applied research.
She said Nuffic, a Non-Governmental Organization also based in the Netherlands, had committed to funding the research for a six-month period, adding that the programme would bridge the gap between industry and academia.
Madam Cruz said the faculty would be supported in applying for innovation and research funding towards furthering the project and linking solutions with business support services to help introduce them to the market.
Five food processors producing honey, wine, and fruit juices had been shortlisted for a two-day “innovation jam” to brainstorm on viable research and development ideas as part of the launch of the project.