A Principal Research Scientist of the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI), Dr Roger Adamu Lure Kanton, has called on government to as a matter of urgency invest strategically in agriculture extension research to boost agricultural productivity.He said agriculture extension research was very critical in the agriculture value chain and channeling more resources into it to enable relevant stakeholders undertake intensive research at all times was the right thing to do.
Dr Kanton advocated the activities of the Research Extension Linkage Committee (RELC) should be mainstreamed into the funding sources of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the CSIR to make it sustainable and relevant in the agriculture sector.
The Principal Research Scientist made the call at the annual agriculture extension policy review forum held in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital on Friday.
The forum was organised by MoFA in collaboration with CSIR with funding support from the Modernising Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS).
The forum was to create the platform for policy dialogue and conduct a performance review assessment with regards to stakeholder implementation of the agriculture extension policy and gather efforts to improving agriculture extension delivery in Ghana.
The idea is to develop prioritised recommendations for policy implementation and framework improvements in order to influence decision making process to enhance the livelihoods of poor rural farmers.
Dr Samuel Mahama, the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist of CSIR indicated that MEAS has over the years sought to increase yields of farmers through improved technologies like improved varieties, good agricultural practices.
He the project was now interested in training and equipping the farmers with the knowledge and skills to be able to produce quality products, properly preserve them and be able to get access to good market for those products both locally and internationally.
The Deputy National Director of the Department of Extension Services, Mr Emmanuel Ankrah Odame, explained that as part of government's efforts to increase agriculture production, it has introduced flagship programmes including the Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rearing for Food and Jobs, among others.
He explained that it was based on this reason that there was the need to assist farmers to address challenges such as soil fertility, Fall Army Worm and the Afflatoxin, among others to increase production and contribute to achieving food and nutritional security.