- By:Michael Darko
- Hits: 140
CSIR-Crops Research Institute with the support of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has developed 3 improved rice varieties. The new varieties-AG-CRI-UPL-1-2,AG-CRI-UPL-4-13 AND AG-CRI-UPL-1-18- have long, slender, white aromatic grains, are disease and pest resistant and have a short maturity period of 90 to 100 days .
Over the years rice production has been a major challenge to farmers due to the difficulties they face acquiring suitable land for rice cultivation and the maturity period for rice. These challenges among others have had caused many farmers to frown on rice production resulting in huge volumes of rice imports and its dire consequences on the economy.
According to the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Afriyie-Akoto statistics available indicates that from the year 2007 to 2015, the importation of rice, a leading import commodity in the country, rose from about 151 to 1,162 million dollars.
It is against this background that the CSIR – Crop Research Institute developed these improved rice varieties which can be cultivated on highlands and have a short maturity period of 90– 100 days to encourage more farmers to venture into rice cultivation.
At a press briefing to harvest and showcase these improved rice varieties, a Rice breeder at the CSIR – Crop Research Institute, Dr. Kofi Ayirebi Dartey disclosed that unlike the ordinary varieties of rice which can only flourish in lowland areas, especially where the land has enough water, these new varieties grow in highland areas and therefore people can cultivate them in their garden and any other ordinary place where maize or cowpea can grow. “These types of rice will relieve farmers of the stress they usually go through during rice production. They take a few weeks to mature and since they grow on highlands, it would be easier for farmers to use tractors to cultivate without fear of tractors getting stuck,” he said. He indicated that some of the best varieties of rice across the world were selected and interbred to achieve the positive results. He said the new varieties were very resistant to diseases.
Dr Dartey announced that with sponsorship from the Korea Programme for International Agriculture (KOPIA), the CSIR –Crop Research Institute could cultivate 2,000 hectares of the improved varieties within the next three years.
He appealed to farmers to adopt the new improved varieties to help improve rice production for local consumption and also for export. “This country spends millions of dollars to import rice each year, so if farmers adopt these new varieties which mature very fast and start cultivating them, within a short period the country will produce a lot of rice and that would enable us to reduce the high importation. Dr Dartey added.
True to its attributes of performing very well on uplands and its short maturity period the new varieties performed very well on the pilot rice field located on the CSIR Head Office Compound and were ready for harvesting on the 15th June 2019 after they were planted on the 15th of March 2019.
The development of the new improved varieties was sponsored by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), while KOPIA is supporting the field trials and transfer of technology.
- By:Michael Darko
- Hits: 164
A Validation Workshop on the Feasibility Study Report on Renewable Energy Resources Development in Ghana for the Implementation of a Pilot Project has been held in Accra. The workshop organized by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR), the implementing agency of the project sought to validate the desk , field and feasibility study reports for finalization and submission to the Government of Ghana. Participants were drawn from West Africa Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ministry of Energy, Energy Commission, KNUST, University of Energy and Natural Resources, CSIR-Institute of Industrial Research (IIR), CSIR- Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), University of Ghana, GIZ, KfW, German Embassy, and the Renewable Energy Association of Ghana.
The validation workshop is a sequel to a multi-stakeholder workshop held on April 16, 2018 to discuss possible ways of implementing renewable energy projects and the benefits such projects will bring to Ghana and the entire West African sub-region. A team of experts were commissioned at the end of the workshop to conduct a feasibility study on renewable energy technologies and applications, which would subsequently lead to the implementation of a pilot renewable energy project. The recommendations emanating from the review of the study report is expected to guide the project team to chart the path for the implementation of a pilot Renewable Energy Plant in Ghana.
In his presentation on the overview of the feasibility studies, the Director-General of CSIR, Prof. Victor Kwame Agyeman said that, the energy situation in Ghana as at December 2017, showed that total power generation was 14,069 GWH with the following breakdown: Hydro sources (39.92%), Thermal power (59.88%) and Renewable energy (0.2%). He indicated that installed generation in 2017 was 4,398 MW with peak demand at 2,192.15MW. This means that Ghana had enough power, but distribution has been a challenge for off-grid and island communities.
He presented key challenges identified in the energy sector as: inadequate electricity infrastructure, installed electricity supply outstripped demand but poor distribution networks, in adequate transmission system - outdated transmission equipment and distribution companies’ inability to recover cost through tariffs. He said that, within the next decade, it is expected that 4 billion US dollars would be invested in the energy sector to upgrade the transmission, distribution and generation assets of the system. Ghana lost 10% growth of GDP from 2006 -2007.
Prof. Victor Agyemang outlined the challenges associated with investing in Renewable energy (RE) as follows: Unattractive to private sector due to low purchasing power, Poor access to long term financing by the private sector, high cost in extending grid electricity to island and lake side communities and improper disposal of municipal solid waste and forest/crop residues.
He said, a desk study with focus on review of published data and supported by grey literature from Government Agencies and other relevant private organizations was commissioned. The three (3) desk studies on renewable energy commissioned were; Solar, Biogas and other forms of renewable energy, Biomass (Forest and Agricultural Waste) and finally, Policy, Governance, Socio-Economic dimensions, and gender consideration led to the recommendation of field studies to be conducted at the identified sites to determine the performance of some RE projects and also to interact with the project owners/managers on the lessons learnt and best practices in implementing RE projects.
The four technologies selected for evaluation under the field studies were; Hybrid Mini Hydro-Solar Systems, Hybrid Solar-Biogas Power for Communities, biomass: Sawdust and Oil Mill Solid Waste Combustion for Electricity and Heat Generation as well as Cook stove (Development of Business Model for uptake.)
The proposed studies were undertaken by teams of three (3) to five (5) members each and it revealed that; the ever increasing demand for energy more than the system can take requires the consideration of the rate of population growth for at least ten years as well as economic growth and a capacity that allows for productive uses in order to establish a pilot mini-grid. Based on the output of the field visit, technical, economic and social analysis of Juaben Oil Mill Ltd and Samartex Ghana Ltd, both projects are technically and economically feasible. Solar-Biogas hybrid system is a viable green technology source for rural electrification (Island Communities) and the sanitation aspect of the technology is what drives Biogas to create value. The socio economic benefits derived in terms of fertilizer to increase crop yields and the clean environment from solar-biogas hybrid systems far outweighs the cost of investment in solar PV system alone. There is also a huge market for the cook stove sector as more households and institutions are adopting the improved stoves and taking advantages of the health, economic and environmental benefits.
In a statement delivered on behalf of the German Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Christoph Retzlaff, by the Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Helge Sander, the German ambassador commended the feasibility studies conducted leading to the production of very good reports and encouraged the implementers (CSIR and Partners) of the project to push the project as fast as possible to give Ghana an edge over other funding sources for the project. He reiterated that similar projects were on the drawing board and waiting for the same funding sources from the Germans hence the need for the team to expedite action on this project.
In a keynote address delivered on behalf of the Minister for Environment,Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng by the Deputy Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Ebenezer Appah-Sampong, the Minister noted that the ever increasing demand for energy and global concerns for carbon dioxide emissions have resulted in the exploitation of alternative, sustainable and renewable energy resources. He disclosed that, in Ghana, renewable energy resources that have been exploited include Bio energy (Biomass including waste-to-energy and bio-fuels), tidal and wave power, solar energy, wind power and hydropower (mini and large). Ghana’s renewable energy (RE) in the form of hydro power already accounts for 43.2% of total installed electricity generation as at 2015, and that, the other forms of RE need to be promoted too.
The Minister, commended the German Government for funding the feasibility studies and her readiness to fund the pilot project in Ghana through the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany (BMBF). He thanked the Experts for the commitment to the project and entreated participants to discuss the report and fine-tune it for submission to his Ministry, to guide the commencement of the pilot project.
After a review of the various field study reports, two hybridized RE options; Hybrid Waste-to Energy and solar system and Hybrid Biomass and Solar PV System were finally settled on. In light of this, a proposal on the two selected options have been submitted to BMBF for possible funding support. Ghana does not currently have any experience in running a hybrid renewable energy plant at the proposed scale, making these plants the first of their kind in the country.
The comments, proposals, and recommendations emanating from the workshop have been documented to enable the feasibility report revised and finalised. The revised feasibility report would be subsequently submitted to the Government of Ghana through the Minister of MESTI, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng for implementation of the selected pilot RE plant.
Credit: This project is being funded by the German Government through the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany (BMBF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI). The Project Implementation Lead Agency is Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-Ghana) and West Africa Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), the Project Management Agency. Other participating Ministries and Agencies are Ministry of Energy-Ghana, Ministry of Sanitation, Energy Commission-Ghana, University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), KITE, KNUST-Kumasi and other private sector players.
A cross-section of participants at the validation Workshop
Front Row: Left to Right
- Prof. Victor Agyeman - Director-General of CSIR (Nat. Coordinator)
- Ms. Rosa Djangba - KITE, Accra
- Dr. Mrs. Beatrice Darko Obiri - Principal Research Scientist, CSIR-FORIG
- Mr. Wisdom Togobo - Director, Renewable Energy, Ministry of Energy
- Mr. Henge Sander - Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy
- Mr. Ebenezer Appah-Sampong - Deputy Executive Director, EPA
- Prof. Paul Bosu - Deputy Director-General, CSIR
- Ms. Doris Akrofi - Ministry of Energy
- Dr. Moumini Savadogo - Executive Director, WASCAL
- Ms. Nicola Hodasi - German Embassy, Accra
- By:Michael Darko
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The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is developing products and services critical to jump-starting Ghana's industrialisation.
Unfazed by its daunting financial and resource constraints, the council has innovatively developed the technique of manufacturing egg powder (whole egg, egg yolk powder and albumen powders, as well as egg oil) that is suited for use in the country's environment.
According to its management, the council now strategically positioned to team up with industrialists or businesses to produce the items commercially.
The effort has come with so much sacrifice on the part of scientists who have had to improvise with equipment to get desired outcomes.
The Director of the CSIR Animal Research Institute, Professor Emmanuel K. Adu, told the Daily Graphic that a glut in egg production that sometimes led to farmers destroying their produce impassioned him on the course of getting the technology for the production of the products.
Ghana produces 1.5 million eggs daily and according to the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers, in peak production periods, the country faces a glut on the market with some going bad.
Farmers then have to destroy up to 10 per cent of what they produce annually, according to the association.
Thus, Prof. Adu got to work with his scientists to apply already-existing knowledge in the production of egg powder, egg oil and albumen, suited to local needs but viable internationally.
The innovation by the CSIR will ensure that Ghanaians have eggs, which have quality protein, throughout the year, in the form of powder which can be used in confectionery and pastries, egg oil used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products and powdered albumen, which is the raw material for manufacturing surgical adhesives and, which is currently the preferred suturing material for certain delicate tissues like the conjuctiva.
“Now the know-how is with us,” Prof. Adu said.
According to the CSIR, producing the product in commercial quantities locally would save the confectionery and industrial sector money in their importation.
“Mind you, this is not a totally new idea.
“We localised an existing knowledge in order not to re-invent the wheel,” he said.
Having taken the decision, the CSIR’s next hurdle was finding the right production equipment.
“We put our heads together and realised that the equipment could not be easily obtained locally. We, therefore, had to improvise. I had a machine and we brought it in, unfortunately, it was subject to frequent breakdowns,” Prof. Adu recounted.
“We realised it was not only the powder, but we could generate oil from the egg and we also discovered that we could separate the albumen from the yolk,” he added.
He said the discoveries were in harmony with his vision of making the CSIR Animal Research Institute relevant by developing usable products for the public when he became the director.
“So that is the task we have set ourselves. We think that we have to drive industry; we have to be able to create industries by these innovations. We needed to put out there relevant technology packages for all, by developing products with industrial application. That is when people will say our work is relevant,” he added.
“Other ideas we have is the production of collagen used in cosmetic surgical treatment from pig skin and from ‘welle’. We are also looking at producing gelatin used in pharmaceuticals,” he said.
For Prof. Adu, the work of the scientists was to innovate for industries and commercial concerns.
He said the CSIR was open for private partnerships for the commercial production of the items.
Currently, the institute has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a feed manufacturer to produce black soldier fly larvae for feed production, thereby cutting down on feed costs per ton and with animals performing better on that than other animal protein.
Prof. Adu said he was not in support of the idea of research institutions becoming commercial entities, that is generating 30 per cent of their revenue or funding.
That policy worked well in jurisdictions with vibrant industries that could be resorted to for funding when there were challenges.
“The government must rethink this policy, by this policy it is wasting talent when it does not support scientists to innovate, but expects them to look for funding from an already-stressed industrial sector,” he maintained.
Prof. Adu was of the view that prioritizing was the key in the use of scarce resources and in funding research institutions.
Sights of CSIR
Touring the Animal Research Institute with a Principal Technologist, Mr. Thomas Agyei Ansong and the Daily Graphic got to see the improvised machine used for the technique of powdering eggs.
Mr Ansong said, their products were comparable to any internationally, with a shelf life of up to 10 years for the egg albumen.
The improvised dehydrator, originally for drying fruits and nuts on a small scale, had broken down, requiring the institute to acquire a proper one now.
An innovative solar dryer designed by the institute traps sunlight in an enclosure to dry meat, herbal medicine, fish and other food products requiring a solar-drying procedure.
Another innovation is the spraying of sawdust with Indigenous Micro-Organisms (IMO) in pigsties, which apart from acting as an absorbent for their waste, sufficiently breaks down the sawdust for the pigs to also feed on, halting the cost of feeding and with good results.
Interestingly, it acted in a manner that no smell emanated from the pigsties.
- By:Michael Darko
- Hits: 381
CSIR HONOURS OVER 30 DISTINGUISHED SCIENTISTS AND INDUSTRY PLAYERS FOR THEIR IMMENSE CONTRIBUTION TO THE CSIR SUCCESS STORY AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has honoured over 30 distinguished Scientists of International repute, stakeholders and Industry Players who have contributed to the country’s scientific and industrial development at a ceremony in Accra last Friday May 17, 2019, as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations. The theme for the anniversary celebrations is CSIR – 60 years of Research with impact for sustainable development.
The ceremony dubbed: “MESTI/CSIR Scientific and Lifetime Recognition Awards” brought to the fore the immense contribution of some of the nation’s distinguished scientists and Industry players to the CSIR success story and national development.
The award categories included Scientific Excellence, Champions of Research, Industry Pillars of Science and Dedicated Service in Research and Development.
The awardees included the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, who received a Lifetime Science Award for Medicine and Dr. Leticia Obeng, Lifetime Science Award for water and Environment. Others were, Dr. William Agble, Lifetime Science Award for Agriculture, and Prof. Abba Andam, Lifetime Science award for Physics and Science. The late Prof. Francis Kofi Ampenyi Allotey, was posthumously awarded a lifetime Science Award for Physics and Science.
The rest were Prof. E. H. Amonoo-Neizer and Mr. Abe Inkoom who received awards as Champions of Science and Research. Dr. A.B. Salifu, Prof. E. Owusu-Benoah and Prof. Rose Emma Entsua-Mensah, were rewarded for their Dedicated Service in Research and Development.
Some former Council Chairmen, Directors-General and Directors on retirement were also presented with awards for their dedicated service and profound contribution to the CSIR success story. Three retired staff from the CSIR College of Science and Technology were also rewarded.
The Senior Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Marfo was the Special Guest of Honour.
- By:Michael Darko
- Hits: 1953
Ghanaian farmers will be able to save money and increase their profits if the country adopts Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), scientist Dr. Richard Ampadu-Ameyaw has said.
He says Ghana adopting the technology will also help preserve the environment from contamination through the abuse of chemicals used to fight pests on the farm.
“GMO will save farmers money as they will not have to spray their crops that much against diseases and pests. Currently, we are polluting the environment with the spraying of chemicals to prevent crops from being attacked. With GMO, the production cost of farmers will go down and their yields will go up,” Dr. Ampadu-Ameyaw said at a town hall meeting with farmers in Somanya in the Eastern Region.
Somanya based Rite 90.1 FM and Civil society group Alliance for Science Ghana, with support from Programs for Biosafety Systems organised the forum.
Speaking on the theme: “The Role of Modern Technology in Improving Agricultural Productivity and Livelihood,” Dr. Ampadu Ameyaw who is also the National Coordinator of the Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), said “GMO is not a chemical, it is nothing scary but a technology that is used to develop food crops based on the best species.”
Hundreds of farmers from across the Eastern and Greater Accra regions participated in the forum. President of the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana (NFFAWAG), Mr Davies Narh Korboe urged farmers to open their minds to the introduction of GMOs as a way to ensure food security in the country.
The 2009 National Best Farmer said it is about time a national dialogue is held on the issue of GMOs which will also serve as a forum to educate farmers and the public about it. “GMOs are not bad. We need more advocacy on biotechnology,” he insisted.
Ghana’s parliament in 2011 passed the Biosafety Act to allow for the production and commercialization of GMOs in the country. There are currently no locally produced GMO products on the market.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is currently undertaking field trials of GMO cowpea, which has an inherent resistance to insect attacks, as well as NEWEST rice, which is nitrogen efficient, water efficient and salt tolerant. The varieties are expected on the market soon, once various regulatory requirements are met.
But some Civil Society Groups have kicked against the plan. Food Sovereignty Ghana has filed a suit in court demanding a ban on the technology and the case is still pending. But various groups including the CSIR, Food and Drugs Authority and National Biosafety Authority have insisted there is nothing harmful about the technology.
Deputy Minister for Agriculture George Oduro told journalists after the forum “GMO is a government policy. We were trying to do this in Ghana in 2012 or 2013. But as I speak to you now, it’s not a policy. Ghana is not part of GMOs,” he said.
Executive member of Alliance for Science Ghana Reuben Quainoo demanded clarity from government on its specific position on the technology.
“When the Agric Minister appeared before parliament for vetting, he defended it. When the Environment Minister appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, he also insisted GMOs are good.
"The Deputy Director of Crops Services also hinted in January that Ghana will go the GMO way to deal with Fall Armyworm and other pests. Now, this. So, what is government’s position on the issue?” he quizzed.
Mr. Quainoo said the GMOs undertrials will make a huge difference in the agricultural sector when they get onto the market. “The farmers want it. The scientists are producing it for them. We look forward to GMOs helping us transform agriculture once they are released onto the market,” he added.