Friday, November 20, 2009


West African Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP) is sponsoring 11 research programmes in the country this year at the cost of $1,290,000.
The research programmes are meant to boost agricultural production in the country.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, said this in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of a three-day regional steering committee meeting of WAAPP in Kumasi last Thursday.
While welcoming the sponsorship, Mr Ahwoi said, "It is clear university research could do with a further boost when we arrive at the stage where educational curricula is linked with research activities."
Officials from Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana are attending the three-day meeting.
Three countries - Ghana, Mali and Senegal - are involved in the first phase of WAAPP, a programme conceived with the major objective of improving agricultural productivity through the promotion of regional integration as an instrument for accelerating broad-based growth and poverty reduction in West Africa.
Its approach includes the integration and harmonisation of national agricultural policies and the establishment of direct linkages among research, extension, producers and private economic operators.
Mr Ahwoi called for the introduction of "funding commitments" to allow for research institutes and universities to be more strategic in their planning.
He also called for an integrated national strategy for research under the guidance of a single council representing the government, research and industry.
He said that would result in a more coherent system which would have the universities and research institutions playing complementary roles in the national innovation system.
The minister expressed concern over the weakening of research activities in the universities and expressed the hope that the implementation of the single spine salary structure would stem the tide and keep researchers happy.
He said the current economic situation offered African governments the opportunity to identify and remove constraints to economic growth and unlock new sources of productivity to enhance competitiveness.
"In this line of thought, increasing the effectiveness of scientific research for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and our universities is of great importance because it can instigate firm innovation, which lies at the heart of productivity growth," he stressed.
He expressed the hope that WAAPP would continue to support research and development to better position countries under the organisation to improve agriculture.

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