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Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), a UK-based inter-governmental not-for-profit organisation, has pledged support for the “Planting for Food and Jobs” initiative being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
CABI, through its capacity-building programme, intends to facilitate the training of agricultural extension agents for them to acquire the necessary skills to drive the project.
The Chief Executive Officer of CABI, Dr Trevor Nicholls, made the pledge when he led a delegation to pay a courtesy call on the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, last Friday. The CABI delegation comprised the Director-General for Development, Dr Dennis Rangi; the Director for Africa Region, Dr Morris Akiri; and the Regional Coordinator for West Africa, Dr Victor A. Clottey.
Dr Nicholls and his team have been on a tour of Ghana to hold bilateral discussions with key agencies of government, including CABI’s host, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and other international organisations operating in Ghana.
Briefing the minister on CABI’s activities in Ghana, Dr Nicholls recounted the long-standing relations his organisation has had with the ministry, citing the implementation of the Plantwise project as one of the flagship projects of CABI.
The Plantwise project seeks to improve food security and rural livelihood by reducing crop losses through practical health advice to Ghanaian farmers.
The project, he indicated, would also form the basis of the extension training programme for agricultural extension agents involved in the "Planting for Food and Jobs” initiative of the government.
Dr Nicholls also informed the minister about his organisation’s lead role in the identification of the ‘Fall Army Worm’ that had attacked many crops on the continent. He said CABI had organised a workshop for various stakeholders to find ways of managing the pest in the short, medium to long terms
Dr Akoto commended CABI for its efforts to ensure the growth of the agricultural sector in Africa, stating that CABI’s investment in Ghana would go a long way to promote food security.
The CABI delegation was accompanied by the Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Prof. Victor K. Agyeman, and a Senior Scientific Officer at the CSIR Head Office, Mr Edward Decker.
The delegation had earlier called on the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, where their discussions centred on the possibility of establishing a joint laboratory in Ghana and the need to support Ghana in the development of a framework for biodiversity conservation.
The team’s visit to Ghana was climaxed with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between CABI and CSIR on Access and Benefit Sharing in the utilisation of genetic resources.