Wednesday, February 24, 2010

KS in Agriculture and Rural Development Sector in Ghana

Today, I participated in a two-day (23 – 24 February 2010) conference on “Knowledge Sharing in the Agriculture and Rural Development Sector in Ghana at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel in Accra. The conference was organized by the Ghana Agriculture Information Network System (GAINS) with the support of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), under the global, multi stakeholder Conference in Information Agricultural Research and Development (CIARD) initiative. The conference is part of the implementation plan of the GAINS Knowledge Sharing Framework which was developed under the Ghana AGRIS Pilot Project, supported by FAO

The goal of the Conference was to showcase examples of good knowledge sharing practices in the field of agriculture and rural development in Ghana, particularly for the benefit of the small-scale farmers and rural communities.

Guests at the opening session were: Dr. A. B. Salifu, CSIR Director General, Mr. Musa Mbenga, FAO Representative to Ghana, and Dr. Kwame Ameza, Acting Director of the Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

In their statements, I noted the following:

  • Mr. Mbenga - most initiatives and projects being carried out by international and national institutions in Ghana are largely knowledge intensive activities and therefore it is imperative that stakeholders from these institutions meet often to share their experiences and lessons learned when working with farmers and rural communities.
  • Dr. Ameza - information sharing forms the basis for the development of all organizations and nations and that while a lack of knowledge would spell doom for any society, knowledge shared would lead to development.
  • Dr. Salifu - a lot of technologies have been developed by the CSIR for Ghanaian farmers’ to increase productivity. Unfortunately, these technologies are unknown as the CSIR has not been sharing knowledge about them. However, the CSIR has henceforth undertaken to publicize the technologies it has developed.

The conference sessions saw some interesting presentations and discussions. The presentations included:

  • Ensuring Farmers’ livelihoods and food security around Kakum Conservation area – Yaw Osei-Owusu, Country Director, Conservation Alliance, Accra Ghana
  • Enhancing the adaptive capacity of local communities to pressures of climate change – Eric Owusu Adjei, Scientific Secretary, CSIR, Soil Research Institute, Kumasi
  • Conservation and restoration of biodiversity – Essel Mensah Ewool, Project Coordinator, International Christian Association for Rural Evangelism (ICARE)
  • Sunflower production and processing for edible oil and biodiesel in Ghana – Sulemana Issah, Chief Executive Officer, TRAGRIMACS, Accra
  • Knowledge profiling: the Ghana experience – Maria Elena Mangiafico, Operation Policy and Technical Division, IFAD, Rome, Italy
  • GAINS Knowledge Sharing Framework – Justin Chisenga, Information Management Specialist, FAO Regional Office for Africa, Accra
  • RAILS: a framework for strengthening and scaling out knowledge sharing in Ghana – The Ghana Learning Team and the eRails portal – Dady Demby, Programme Officer, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Accra
  • Ghana Agricultural Information Network System (GAINS) – Simon K. Osei, Deputy Coordinator; GAINS Accra
  • The experience of the Community of Practice for Pro-poor Livestock Development (CoP-PPLD) and its forthcoming initiative to strengthen partnerships with Local Communities Organizations and Farmers Associations – Sivlia Sperandini, Operational Policy and Technical Division, IFAD, Rome, Italy
  • Using participatory video to promote sustainable cocoa production in Ghana – Dr. Sonni David, Regional Participatory Extension Specialist, IITA, Accra & Isaac O.O. Ansah, Research Scientist, CSIR, Crop Research Institute, Kumasi
  • Radio script on smallholder farmer innovation – Mr. Gabriel Adukpo, Municipal Director of Agriculture, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, New Juaben, Koforidua
  • Rite FM 90.1 and agriculture development in Ghana – Emmanel Asamoah, Head – Agri Desk, Rite 90.1 FM, Somanya
  • Participatory radio campaign: the case of Farm Radio International – Benjamin Kodjoe Fiafor, National Research Coordinator , Africa Farm Radio Research Initiative, Accra
  • Participatory Video on “Siella” mineral lick – Dr. Naaminong Karbo, Director, Animal Research Institute, CSIR
  • CTA Question & Answer Service – Benjamin Folitse, Librarian, Council for Scientific Industrial Research – Institute for Scientific and Technological Information, Accra, Ghana
  • Dissemination of CSIR-CRI technologies through posters – Isaac Stewart Baning, Senior Scientific Secretary, CSIR Crops Research Institute, Kumasi, Ghana
  • Innovative technologies needing minimum intervention to increase the productivity of farmers – Emmanuel Bobobee, KNUST
  • Potentials of Sericulture for Poverty Alleviation in Ghana: Paul Ntaanu, Founder and Technical Director of The Sericulture Promotion and Development Association, Ghana (SPDAG)

Participants included farmers, farmers' representatives, radio programmes producers and presenters, information spcialists, extension officers, research scientists, information technology specialist, representatves of the private sectors, and many others.

A detailed report on the conference will be available from the organizers of the conference. Please contact Mr. Joel Sam, GAINS Coordinator.