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.
The Director of the institute, Dr Stella Ama Ennin, made the appeal when the newly appointed Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, Mr Mahama Ayariga, paid a working visit to the institute last Wednesday.
He was accompanied by the Chief Director of the ministry, Ms Salimata Abdul Salam; the Director of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Dr Yauza Gomdah, and the Director General of the CSIR, Dr Victor Agyemang.
Dr Ennin said the rate of attrition at the institute was very alarming due to the poor conditions of service there and appealed to the government to lift the embargo on employment, so that the institute could replace those who had left.
She said the institute, which was the largest among the 13 institutes under the CSIR, had been very instrumental in the development of new varieties of crops to support agricultural production.
Dr Annin said some of the crop varieties developed by the CRI were being used locally and internationally and were helping farmers to improve on their yields to improve their incomes.
She said contrary to the popular claim that most research findings were left to gather dust on the shelves of institutions, “our researches are not lying on shelves”. She said the institute worked in collaboration with farmers, most of whom had adopted most of the findings to improve their production.
So far, Dr Ennin said, the institute had released 25 varieties of maize, 16 varieties of cassava and seven types of rice. She said the CRI had been at the forefront of many researches into root and tuber crops, legumes, vegetables and cereals.
As part of the future programme of the institute, the director said, it would soon establish a postgraduate institution to train more crop scientists locally.
Dr Ennin said in spite of the achievements of the institute, it was battling with inadequate funding for research, while portions of its land had been encroached upon, thereby depriving it of land for research and the expansion of programmes.
Mr Ayariga commended the CRI for its work towards ensuring food security in the country. He said even though the institute had been doing its best to improve on agricultural production in the country, Ghana still had a huge rice import bill. He expressed the hope that the scientists would make themselves more relevant to society to attract the necessary investment and budgetary allocation to conduct more researches.
By: Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor
Date: Friday, 08 May 2015