July 25, 2024
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‘Food Production Can Solve Ghana’s Problem’

Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie has suggested that local food production and consumption by citizens can solve Ghana’s economic problems.

“We currently import about $3.5 billion of food to this country. If we adopt import substitution as applied to food alone, I have done the research, we can save more than $2 billion,” he said.

The Minister made these remarks at the third edition of the food fair of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Accra yesterday.

He continued, “The sort of things that we spend our hard earned money to import, and coincidentally I am so outraged that that amount equals exactly the foreign exchange that we get from cocoa.”

“Some $2.2 billion and we waste that money importing frivolous things which are agriculture related that we can easily have substitutes for,” Dr. Afriyie posited.

He called for the country to begin training the olfactory nerves (smell nerve), taste bud and the glutamic nerve (sight nerve) of its younger generation.

“They are things that make food attractive to you. And if we train them, we can easily accept our local foods. Our local foods are nutritionally superior to those that are imported,” he asserted.

According to him, much of the rice brought into the country has been sitting in silos for over ten years, losing nutritious value, “while we ignore our own local produce.”

“If our public can be thought to accept local produce and quickly embrace that, IMF will be redundant,” he posited.

According to him, Africa still possesses 60% of the arable land available for cultivation, while calling for Ghana to take advantage, adding, “When children are well fed, a healthy nation is built.”

Prof. Paul P. Bosu, Director General of CSIR, said farmers, government and scientists in the country had worked tirelessly over the years to ensure agriculture and food security receive the deserved attention.

“We have done this over the years from the operation feed yourself programme of the 1970s to the current Planting for Food and Jobs phase two programme,” he noted.

Prof. Charles Tortoe, Director of the CSIR-Food Research Institute, in addition to providing existing experts and insight into training programs for entrepreneurs and industry, they also encourage our scientists to populate it through periodic technical reviews and new results so that we can send out our technologies to the entire country.

“We value our professional relationship and that gives us the team work and ability of which we believe we can continue to propagate,” he said.

Nana Osei Bonsu, Chairman of the CSIR Board of Directors, has urged for collaboration among various research institutions that identify diverse kinds of food, from farmers who produce to agriculture input dealers and processors.

“In Africa we waste a lot of food because we don’t process them and this is because we don’t have a good storage system. Now that we have the rains and floods, everything is being washed away,” he said.

He added that when one goes to Mampong, Ejura, and its environs, one may find grain producers praying for the rains to cease, over which they have no control, and said that is the time one can understand the farmer’s difficulty.

Source: Daily Guide

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