The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has taken delivery of mobile soil fertility equipment for the transformation of the country’s agriculture sector.
The equipment, worth over $1 million and donated by the OCP Foundation of Morocco, included a heavy duty truck, three pick-up vehicles and motorcycles, all fitted with cabins for soil fertility testing and development.
The items presented to the Soil Research Institute (SRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), would also be used to build human resource capacity of MoFA and CSIR-SRI staff, towards the development of digital soil fertility maps for key agricultural production areas in the country.
The Minister of MoFA, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, speaking at the ceremony said the facilities would equip the national fertiliser and soil laboratories for improved fertiliser and soil quality testing for sustainable management of the country’s farm lands.
Such analysis, he explained would support the farmers by providing free live soil testing and recommendation in the most remote villages, where there was no knowledge of soil nutrition and improvement.
“All these would help assist the farmers apply the most effective fertiliser formulae to address specific challenges concerning food production in the country,” he added.
He said the project would provide training and capacity building for personnel in various directorates at MoFA and SRI through practical training programmes for soil scientists, laboratory technicians, and extension officers on geographical information systems in both Ghana and Morocco to serve as trainers of trainers.
Dr Akoto explained that the new partnership with the OCP Foundation would not only generate jobs, but would also make fertiliser affordable and accessible to the country’s hardworking farmers for increased crop yield to improve food security.
The Moroccan Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Imane Quaadil, said continued partnership and development of the country’s agriculture programme would create more jobs for the socio-economic development of both countries.
She commended the government for initiating policies, including the Planting for Food and Jobs, towards achieving the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
The Ambassador indicated that issues of climate change and food insecurity called for the adoption of sustainable measures to ensure food sufficiency for the continent.
The Director-General of the CSIR, Professor Victor Agyemang, in his welcome address said, the fruitful agreement between the government and the upgrading of laboratories of the SRI Research Centre of CSIR in modern soil fertility and plant protocols, soil fertility mapping would cover over 100,000 hectares of land in the forest zone of the country covering three major agriculture districts of the Ashanti Region.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU