Minister task research institutions to market products

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie has charged research institutions to develop effective marketing strategies to boost the patronage of their products.

He said effective marketing strategies would ensure profitable commercialisation of the numerous products developed and help in advocating insightful research studies conducted by the various institute.

The minister, gave the advice during a visit to the Food Research Institute (FRI) and the Institute of Industrial Research (IIA) in Accra yesterday.

The FRI and IIA are some of the Institutes under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The visit was to enable the minister familiarise himself with operations of the institutes as well as keep abreast with concerns within the science sector.

Dr Afriyie, during a tour of some of the laboratories at the institute marvelled at the numerous innovative products developed, but was dismayed that the institute had performed poorly in commercialising their products.

“It is saddening that you continue to struggle with funding, infrastructure and other issues and are unable to pay for them with the revenue you get from your products. In addition, other industries are taking credit for the products you developed through your hard work and research. The opportunity to raise the funding you need is at your doorstep,” he added.

The minister asked the research institutions to partner the media and use their channel and platforms to advocate their services, studies and products.

This, he said, would increase their relevance in society and in turn increase income in the sales of their products.

Dr Afriyie said the ministry was in discussions with its counterpart at Finance to help address some of their challenges, including high electricity charges.

After touring the labs of the IIR, the minister called on the Director of IIR, Professor Victor Kwame Agyeman to reorganise the culture of the institute.

“The institute has many departments under it, with some, due to legislation and policy, cannot be commercialised. But if we are able to change that, there is a great opportunity to be gained by commercialising some of the departments under this institute and others.

“An example is the metrology department that is able to repair all kinds of laboratory equipment. So I urge all research institutes that have department that can be commercialised to write proposals and I will present it to Parliament for consideration.

The Director of FRI, Professor Charles Tortoe, said the institute continued to apply market oriented research into addressing problems of food processing, safety and storage in order to support the food industry and advise government on policies.

He noted that the lack of patronage of their consultancy services as well as products from government and private industries had negatively affected the Institute’s internally generated funds

“Despite our many successes, we continue to face challenges of high electricity bills, low financial support from donors inadequate and old equipment. 

More worrying is the lack of contracts and consultancy from government and private industries which has affected our internally generated funds,” he added.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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