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SARI is ready to support agricultural expansion

By Naa Shormei Odonkor,

Nyankpala
(N/R) July 16, GNA – Dr Wilson Dogbe, the Project Manager of the Savannah
Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) has indicated that SARI was now ready for
business to support all initiatives that could help expand the institute and
agricultural production.

He
said the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) released a
Direct Initiative Fund of $5.5 million US dollars in 2015 to support a three
year project in SARI but was not sufficient to bring out the ultimate and
expected outcomes hence, the need to raise funds to support the project through
other accepted means.

Dr
Dogbe said this at the launch of the “Core of Excellence Project” organized by
SARI in collaboration with USAID, Agricultural Technology Transfer (ATT) and
the Iowa State University (ISU) in Nyankpala in the Tolon District at the
weekend.

The
main focus of the launch was to create a platform to announce the readiness of
SARI to collaborate with developers and especially the private sector to do
business with them in order to generate extra funds to support their expansion
project.

The
launch was on the theme: “Innovative seed research for income
generation” and was in line with three major thrust to strengthen the
management structure and income-generating mechanisms within the institute for
improved quality and supply of breeder and foundation seeds.

According
to Dr Dogbe, commercialization was a suggestion from the ISU assessment
programme on SARI in 2016, when it was discovered that the USAID direct initiative
fund was inadequate to assist in SARI’s project of expansion.

Dr
Steven K. Nutsugah, the Director of SARI said the core of Excellence project
was intended to make SARI a premier agricultural research system in Northern
Region where solutions would be provided to all agricultural issues.

According
to him, even though SARI had been able to provide 39 varieties of various crops
including maize (17), millet (5), rice (5), cowpea (9) and soybean (3) over the
past ten years, the institute suffered from inadequate infrastructure and
technology as well as poor administration and management, triggering the need
for improvement.

Dr
Nutsugah acknowledged the ability of USAID to bring out best results in their
collaboration with other agencies, which created a substantial platform of
success as well as a unique foundation of trust upon which to launch and carry
out the Core of Excellence project.

He
assured that, the scientific community of Ghana was fully in accordance with
the USAID’s premise that, it was imperative to greatly expand the development,
dissemination and application of agricultural technologies in order to improve
agricultural productivity.

The
Northern Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Saeed in a speech read on his behalf said
seeds were of essential importance to farmers and it was therefore good that
the initiative geared towards producing certified seeds of high nutritional
value targeting maize, soybean and rice varieties.

He
advised scientists to help preserve some crops of medicinal value, which were
gradually disappearing from the system.

Mr
Samson Konlan in a message from the USAID Economic Growth Office urged SARI to
strive hard in order to develop into a world class institute that would compel
government to support its activities with sufficient resources.

GNA

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