In The News

SCIENTISTS PUSH FOR GM MAIZE IN GHANA TO ADDRESS ARMY WORM INFESTATION

Research Scientists at the Crop Research Institute (CRI) are suggesting for the development and use of genetically-modified (GM) maize in the country to deal with the devastating effects of the fall army worm infestation that has rocked farmlands.

Professor (Mrs.) Marian Quain, leader of the Biotechnology Research Programme (BRP), said studies had shown that genetically-modified maize with in-built disease-resistant genes had the potential to withstand the harmful effects of the pests.

The fall army worm, detected in Ghana some 15 months ago, had since infected more than 20, 000 hectares of farmlands, causing the country losses to the tune of about US$64 million.

CSIR-CRI INAUGURATES NEW MANAGEMENT BOARD

The CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI), on Wednesday, 14th March, 2018 reconstituted its Management Board to give policy direction to the Director of the Institute. Dr. Abu Sakara Foster, a Development Agronomist and Executive Chairman of SAKFOS FARMS was appointed as Chairman of the Board.
The inaugural ceremony was held at the Institute’s Conference Room. The Director of the Institute,

EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF CSIR COUNCIL VISITS CSIR-CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE

The newly appointed Executive Chairman of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Professor Robert Kingsford Adaboh on Wednesday, 17th January, 2018 visited the CSIR-Crop Research Institute at Fumesua. Accompanying him was the Director General of the Council, Professor Victor Kwame Agyeman and the Administrative Director, Mr. Adam Issahaku. The purpose of the visit was to officially introduce the newly appointed Executive Chairman to staff of the

CSIR-CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE HOLDS A THREE DAY TRAINING WORKSHOP ON AFLATOXIN

CSIR-Crops Research Institute in collaboration with the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) has organized a 3-day training workshop on “Breeding for Aflatoxin Resistance with Marker Assisted Selection”.
The workshop which took place from October11-October13, 2017, commenced with an opening ceremony at the Agricultural Productivity Technology Centre (APTC) of the CSIR-Crop Research Institute, Fumesua-Kumasi. The occasion witnessed over fifty participants comprising both research scientists, staff of the institute and students from Ghana, Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso.

CSIR-CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE SUPPORTS YAM GROWERS

One major constraint to yam production in Ghana is the availability of quality seeds to farmers. To mitigate this situation, the CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) has through its CAY SEED projects signed an agreement with six yam seed growers to establish seed yam multiplication centres.

These growers; Heritage Seed (Tamale), Fosuah Food Chain (Accra), Baba Agro (Atebubu), Savanna Yam Exchange (Accra), Naa Seini Enterprise (Tamale) and Hope Rural Investment (Bechem) have all received training from the Institute on an advanced seed production technique termed “aeroponics”, that is

CSIR-CRI CROP VARIETIES APPROVED FOR RELEASE

A number of crop varieties developed by the CSIR-Crops Research Institute have been recommended for release by the National Varietal Release and Registration Committee. The committee inspected rice and sweetpotato fields developed by researchers of the Institute on 30th August, 2017.
The Institute presented six (6) lowland rice varieties and three (3) varieties of sweetpotato for release. After the filed inspections and presentations by the lead scientists, Dr. Maxwell Asante and Dr. Ernest Baafi, all six rice varieties were recommended for release. The Committee also recommended two out of the three sweetpotato varieties.

CSIR-CRI RELEASES TARO, GROUNDNUT AND CASSAVA VARIETIES

The National Varietal Release and Registration Committee (NVRRC) has recommended a number of crop varieties developed by the CSIR-Crops Research Institute for release. The committee inspected the Institute’s taro, groundnut and cassava fields on 20th July 2017.
Four (4) taro varieties were presented for release. After field inspections and a presentation by the lead scientist, Dr. Ernest Baafi, all four taro varieties were recommended for release by the Committee. This is the first time taro varieties have been released in Ghana.

CSIR-CRI SCIENTIST WINS SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE AND INNOVATION AWARD

Dr. Ernest Baafi, a Research Scientist of CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI), Ghana is the winner of the maiden Scientific Excellence and Innovation Award, 2017.

His paper, “Exploitation of Genetic Potential of Sweetpotato for End-user Traits Improvement” was adjudged the best scientific sweetpotato paper for 2016. The announcement was made at the just ended 8th Annual Technical Meeting of the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative (SPHI) in Tanzania.

CSIR-CRI ORGANISES TRAINING IN ROOT AND TUBER ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT

The CSIR-Crops Research Institute has over the years organized several international research and training programs to enhance the capacity of various actors in the crop production chain.  The Agricultural Productivity Technology Centre (APTC) of the institute in collaboration with the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP), recently organized one of such international workshops with the aim of enhancing entrepreneurship development in root and tuber crops production in the West Africa sub – region. The workshop took place at the CSIR-Crops Research Institute from 17th to 28th July, 2017. A total of 28 participants from 14 different West African countries including Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana were taken through series of technological training and other business-oriented programs in entrepreneurship.

DEPUTY SECTOR MINISTER VISITS CSIR-CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE

The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mrs. Patricia Appiagyei has expressed excitement at the level of research activities taking place at the CSIR-Crops Research Institute and has called on government to pay particular attention to the Institute concerning its “Planting for Food and Jobs” and

CSIR Gets New Director General

The Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Dr. Victor Kwame Agyemang, has pledged to be fair and firmCross Section of CSIR-CRI Staff with DG in his dealings with all staff of the CSIR, in his effort to lead CSIR to deliver on its mandate and build on successes achieved.

The DG was speaking at a ceremony where he was introduced to the Director and staff of the CSIR-Crops Research Institute at Fumesua by the immediate past Director-General, Dr. Abdulai Baba Salifu.

CSIR harvests fourth batch of genetically modified rice

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has harvested its fourth batch of genetically-modified (GM) rice cultivated at Nobewam in the Ashanti Region for confined field trials (CFTs).

The rice project, dubbed “NEWEST”, started in April 2013 after an approval was given by the National Biosafety Committee (NBC) under the Biosafety Law (Act 831), to regulate the production of GM improved seeds in the country.

CRI unveils new farming system

The Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has rolled out a new system of farming as part of its efforts to address the negative effects of climate change on farming.

Known as Aquaponics-based Food Systems (AFS), it is to help smallholder farmers to maximise their output.

CRI trains yam farmers on new techniques

A field day has been organised for yam farmers selected from Ejura and surrounding communities to educate them on new techniques to help improve their production.

It formed part of activities of a five-year yam agronomy research project being undertaken by the Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

CRI introduces high yielding crops

Scientists at the Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) at Fumesua in the Ashanti Region have introduced high yielding, disease and draught-resistant crops into agriculture in Ghana.

CRI Ladies Club gives career guidance to students

The the Ladies Club of the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR,) in collaboration with the American Society of Plant Biologists, has organised a sensitisation programme for Science and Home Economic students of the Adawomase Senior High School in the Ashanti Region.

The programme was aimed at educating the students on making the right choice of profession.

Hasten slowly with adoption of GMOs

The Ghana Public Health Association (GPHA) says Ghana should place itself appropriately to benefit maximally from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), as the technology has a great potential to improve health, nutrition and food security.

It, however, cautioned that the country must move slowly, as the development, testing and release of GMO products must be appropriately regulated.

Women agricultural scientists break gender stereotypes

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reports that over two-thirds of all women in Africa are employed in the agricultural sector, producing nearly 90 per cent of the food on the continent. In addition, research by African Women in Agriculture Research and Development (AWARD) on women in agriculture in 125 African agricultural institutions found that although women produce, process and market most of Africa’s food crops, only one in four agricultural researchers is female.

Plant Breeders Bill not related to genetic modification

The Director of the Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Hans Adu-Dapaah, has said the Plant Breeders Bill has nothing to do with genetic modification and urged the House to pass the bill.

He said the bill currently before Parliament was a positive development which sought to address the interests of plant breeders, as well as promote agricultural productivity.

Dr Adu-Dapaah was speaking at a workshop for former Members of Parliament (MPs) on the benefits of the bill in Accra yesterday.

Patronise govt-approved spray for cocoa farms

The Offinso Municipal Cocoa Chief Farmer, Nana Kwaku Duah Agyeman, has advised members of the Offinso branch of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Shea Nut Farmers Association and cocoa farmers in general to patronise the government-approved spray to improve yield.

Speaker lauded for suspending discussions on Plant Breeders' Bill

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has commended the Speaker of Parliament for suspending discussions on the Plant Breeders' Bill (PBB).

He has also been lauded for directing the Select Committee on Constitutional, Parliamentary and Legal Affairs to engage in public consultation on the bill.

However, the PFAG has registered its displeasure with some emerging developments regarding the bill and the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Ghana.

Ghana to learn new agric techniques from Israel

Ghana’s Ambassador to the State of Israel, Mr Ernest Lomotey, has stated that improved agricultural technology is one of its focuses for further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.

He said such aspects of bilateral relations would help Ghana produce all year round and the mission was working towards establishing a convergence between Israel’s accomplishments in agriculture and Ghana’s desire to expand productivity in this sector.

Agric support must target farmers — Prez

President John Dramani Mahama has taken a strong position against agricultural programmes that are packaged to benefit technocrats, at the expense of farmers.

"The direct benefits should go to farmers," he said, insisting that his government would not hesitate to reject any agricultural programme that took away the direct benefits from farmers and gave them to technocrats.

"Technocrats in developing countries and mission support staff are happy to package programmes like these because of who the benefits go to," he said.

Genetically modified organisms; the dietitian’s take (2)

Another genuine concern is high pesticide and herbicide residues in GM foods. This is due to the fact that some GM foods are designed to take on more pesticides and herbicides than usual (known as “roundup ready” crops) so that the farmers can kill off weeds and pests without harming their plants.

Due to this resistance, these crops end up getting higher doses of these chemicals than their conventionally bred counterparts get.

No tillage farming, an alternative to GMO

One of the compelling forces necessitating the call for the introduction of the genetically modified organism (GMOs) and the passage of the Plant Breeders’ Bill (PBB) in the country is improvements in yields of crops on the farm and food security.

So while the controversy rages on, various options are being looked at, as alternatives for the production of sufficient food to feed the nation and even export beyond its borders.

We Have No Research On Our Shelves – CSIR

The Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Victor Agyeman, has spoken against the notion that many of the country’s research findings are gathering dust on shelves.

While it is the generally held belief that development efforts are being held back by the lack of appreciation for the work done by the country’s research institutions, Dr Agyeman said the lack of connection between research and development was due to the weaknesses of the private sector.

He said since 1996, the CSIR had had an Act which indicated that it had to work with the private sector and commercialise.

IFAD Rolls Out Cassava Flour Project

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has rolled out a project to support the inclusion of cassava flour in bread and other confectioneries towards improving food security and the livelihoods of farmers.

The project is to be executed through two IFAD grants; “Enhancing the Competitiveness of the High Quality Cassava Flour Value Chain (HQCF) in West and Central Africa” and “Improving Quality, Nutrition and Health Impacts of Inclusion of Cassava Flour in Bread Formulation in West Africa (Ghana and Nigeria)”.

Agriculturists meet on yam development

Agricultural scientists from Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria have met to develop high-yielding yam seeds that are disease-resistant. The effort is targeted at enhancing yam production for both the local and international markets.

The project, which is on a pilot basis, will take 36 months to complete and will cost about $4 million. It will involve improving the quality and productivity of about 3,000 smallholder farmers in eight growing communities, particularly in Ghana and Nigeria.

The project is on the theme: “Community action in improving farmer-saved seed yam,” and is being co-ordinated by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Kofi Annan Promotes Consumption of Sweet potatoes

A former United Nations Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan, and his wife, Nane, are collaborating with the International Potato Centre (CIP) to intensify a campaign on the consumption of sweet potatoes to improve the health of women and children less than five years.

The campaign, which is also intended to create wealth, is targeted at reaching at least 500,000 households in Ghana with resilient nutritious sweet potato by 2020.

2015 AGRITECH to help eliminate post-harvest challenges in Ghana

The Embassy of Israel will on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, hold a breakfast meeting for government officials, agricultural companies, big farmers, agro-processors, financial and investment institutions.

It will focus on agriculture and major private and public sector players in the field of agro-business and the media to serve as a briefing session on the prospects and projections of participation in Agricultural Technology (AGRITECH) 2015 in Israel. 

Trial of new cotton variety positive in 3 northern regions; But no commercialisation yet

A scientist at the Yam and Cotton Breeding Programme of the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Dr Emmanuel Chamba, has confirmed that Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton trials in the three northern regions of the country have yielded positive results.

“What we did was that we had a quarter hectare Bt cotton and a quarter hectare non-Bt cottonlying side by side. We did that in six locations in the three northern regions,” he said.

Don’t settle displaced people on our land — CSIR

WORKERS of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Friday hit the streets of Amasaman in the Greater Accra Region to protest what they described as “an attempt by the Ga West Municipal Assembly to give the institute’s land to the displaced residents of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Numbering about 500, the workers, wearing red armbands and holding placards, marched through the principal streets of Amasaman and converged on the 19 acres where the displaced residents of Sodom and Gomorrah would settle.

CRI loses 100 workers in 4 years; Tells govt to lift embargo on employment

The Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has appealed to the government to lift the embargo on employment to enable the institute to replace its ageing workers.

Within four years, the institute has lost 100 workers, mostly experienced scientists, some of whom have resigned, while others have gone on retirement. The situation is likely to be aggravated by the fact that many more scientists are about to go on retirement.Currently, the institute has a workforce of 700.

Savanna Agricultural Institute to enhance rice production

The Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) has secured a $1 million World Bank grant to enhance local rice cultivation in the northern ecological zones of the country.

Dubbed the “System of Rice Intensification (SRI),” the three-year project seeks to train rice farmers on the correct  rice farming practices to ensure higher yields. It is being implemented by SARI in collaboration with the West African Agricultural Productivity.

Local farmers to benefit from GH¢90 million agric subsidy

Farmers are to benefit from a GH¢90 million subsidy on fertiliser and seeds this year, the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mr Fifi Kwetey, has said.

At the 2015 Fertiliser and Seed Subsidy Programme in Accra last Monday, Mr Kwetey said the subsidy would target smallholder farmers cultivating maize, rice, sorghum and millet, emphasising that food crop farmers would be given the priority.

Currently, the government is subsidising fertiliser at about 21 per cent.

YAM FARMERS EXPOSED TO SMART TECHNOLOGIES AMID CLIMATE THREAT

Yam farmers in parts of Ghana have been exposed to smart technologies required to build a resilient cropping system in order to increase yields to at least 30 per cent.

FOOD FAIR ORGANIZED BY CSIR-CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE AND PARTNERS

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) has been a public health concern in developing countries including Ghana. Strategies to control VAD include dietary diversification, biofortification and vitamin A supplementation.

Dietary diversification which involves utilization of beta-carotene-rich crops such as orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP), yellow cassava and yellow maize has been the cheapest means of alleviating VAD.

WEST AFRICA AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY PROGRAMME (`WAAPP) INNOVATION PLATFORM FACILITATORS TRAINGNING ON SOFT SKILLS

A 3-day training workshop was organized at CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) on soft skills for facilitators of Innovation Platforms (IPs) in 1

5 districts of Ghana from 12th to 14th January, 2016. The objectives were to improve the knowledge base of facilitators and functionality of the IPs for effective technology dissemination and adoption and also to improve learning skills, conflict resolution, and multi-stakeholder process among others. Twenty four (24) extension facilitators from 14 districts were brought together for this training.

Ghana to overhaul agric with digital technology — Prez Mahama

Plans are underway to overhaul agriculture through the application of digital technology, President John Dramani Mahama has said.

With over 31 million mobile line subscribers in Ghana, he said the government was poised to apply mobile phone technology to reach out to farmers with new ideas, to improve production and their incomes.

Contributing to discussions at the 2015 Forbes Africa Forum in Brazzaville, Congo last

Tuesday, the President said digitised agriculture had the power to alleviate poverty and create wealth for the people.