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CSIR to help improve agric extension service delivery

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
 Prof. Paul P. Bosu, Deputy Director-General of CSIR,  speaking at the capacity building workshop
Prof. Paul P. Bosu, Deputy Director-General of CSIR, speaking at the capacity building workshop

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working to help improve agric extension service delivery through scientific and evidence-based technology and management practices, with modern extension service delivery approaches.

The council is doing this in close collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) through the Research, Extension, Farmer Linkage Committees (RELCs), which is a multistakeholder platform constituted at the regional level to ensure that research and extension activities are responsive to the demands of farmers and other clients.

According to the Deputy Director-General of the CSIR, Prof. Paul P. Bosu, the extension improvement programme falls under a broader initiative to decentralise Ghana’s agriculture sector implementation responsibilities to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

Dubbed ‘Modernising Agriculture in Ghana’ (MAG) programme, it is a five-year project being supported by Global Affairs Canada with 135 million Canadian dollars to help the country improve its agricultural sector by assisting the MoFA to effectively disseminate agricultural technology in the country.

Prof. Bosu explained that the CSIR was involved in Component three of the MAG, which is a budgetary support programme extended to Ghana to provide resources to support the delivery of agricultural advisory services to subsistence farmers and farmer groups in Ghana.

“The intention is to re-orientate this category of farmers towards market-led agribusinesses. It is anticipated to increase food production resulting in sustained food and nutrition security as well as increased incomes,” he said during a capacity building workshop in Accra for some selected media.

He outlined some achievements under the MAG to include increased access to relevant technologies along the agriculture value chain through regional participatory planning processes and technical review meetings conducted annually to train trainers on the use of newly developed technologies .

MAG

The MAG is taking into consideration lessons learned from the implementation of the earlier sector budget support programmes.

Through the MAG Programme, it is intended that conditional budget support and technical assistance will be provided for Ghana to respond to the objectives of the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy (FASDEP), Medium Term
Agriculture Sector investment programme (METASIP) and the Ghana shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA II).

It is designed to address productivity and value chain development management to add value to farmers’ produce for increased incomes.

A total of 125 million Canadian dollars may be provided for the programming activities outlined in the first four out of the five components.

Media engagement event

The maiden workshop of the ‘CSIR Knowledge Series’ was organised by the council, with support from the Modernising Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) programme.

Among the objectives, the workshop was to build the capacity of the media to be better advocates for science and research.

The Head of Corporate Affairs at the CSIR, Ms Benedicta Boateng, said the meeting was also to strengthen the council’s relationship with the media.

“We have been working with the media for the past 60 years but we think it is about time that we built a core of journalists who are interested in science and research to be able to communicate well,” she said.