In our issue today are two stories about food.
One of them is about nine new rice varieties developed by the Crop Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CRI), with the support of the Korean Programme in International Agriculture (KOPIA), Ghana Centre.
The other has to do with a two-day international workshop on sustainable land use and management to enhance food production in Ghana and Africa.
The two stories have deliberately been put on one page (page 15) for the issues they raise, though from different perspectives or angles but end on their common subject, food.
Even though the CSIR-CRI specifies the particular food crop and the workshop is about food in general, both are about the survival of humanity.
Now the issues they raise must be of concern to everyone.
It is joy to learn about the CSIR-CRI story as it announces ways to increase rice production and since rice is a staple in the country, that means it is an attempt to make more food available for the people.
The CSIR-CRI’s achievement also gives the hope of a technology to increase the production of other food crops.
When this happens and the country has excess food, it can export it for foreign exchange, which it needs now more than ever before.
Naturally, food is cultivated on land, which is why the international seminar on land use and management to enhance food production must come in here, especially at a time waste and degradation of land are big issues in the country today.
The seminar is said to form part of activities to mark the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Week 2022, which will open on Monday and close on Friday on the theme ‘Global Action for Local Impact’ and aimed at coming up with tools to monitor and control desertification and land degradation.
But even before GEO Week events bring out certain details, the contents of the seminar which has ended must be taken seriously.
It was stated at that workshop that desertification and land degradation were becoming problems to the global community and that productivity of lands in Ghana was declining due its degradation through illegal mining, urbanisation and haphazard construction of houses.
Is it not sad to hear that one in five hectares of land in the world is degraded and the situation in Ghana is worse?
In other words, 20 per cent of land globally is degraded but Ghana’s case goes beyond that percentage.
The experts are saying that if nothing is done about the current situation while the country’s population is bound to increase over time, the cost of land will rise beyond expectation and access to land for productive ventures will become a challenge.
Their call for measures to preserve the land and adopt strategies to enhance food production is apt.
The truth is that stakeholders in the land sector in the country, particularly politicians, other state officials, including law makers, and chiefs have not been futuristic enough to preserve the country’s land, including flora and fauna, as well as water bodies.
If they had, acts like galamsey, waste of land by estate developers in putting up single-storey structures, unbridled urbanisation and non-demarcation of land for farming in particular would not happen in the country.