While the antedated hoe and cutlass technology for farming may have modestly given way to some basic modern technology, including the use of tractors and fertilisers, not very much has changed from the practices of the last century in Africa or Ghana, for that matter, in terms of seeding, nursing, planting, tending, harvesting and marketing, according to Minister of Agriculture Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto.
That may certainly be the reason for farmers recording poor yields, post-harvest losses, processing as well as marketing challenges and other weaknesses in the agricultural chain.
As the experts would admit, that situation is also responsible for lower production levels across the chain, and challenges in recording tangible improvement in lives and livelihoods within the sector, particularly the vulnerable northern regions.
For nations like Ghana which have been used to seasonal farming, the call to our agro scientists to help is relevant and timely because of several factors.
As we write this piece, massive water resources have been released from the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso, which will not only go waste along the stretch in Ghana, but also destroy farms in its stride.
That is besides the worrying saga of the Volta River also occasionally releasing water downstream and further down into the sea at Ada, when technology could have helped divert it midstream into some basin for use in supporting irrigation in the Accra Plains.
In the Middle Belt, too, we have the problem of occasional erratic rainfall that destroys farms cultivated around the lean season. That, too, we believe must be a worry for the Minister, and which demands intervention from our scientists.
Indeed, it also means that we must begin developing our Greenhouse vision, and gradually move away from seasonal farming to avoid the threats of erratic rainfall.
While the scientists and relevant agencies look for solutions, we also believe technocrats on our irrigation facilities take good care of the systems in enhancing productivity. Not quite long ago, the Tono, for instance, developed faults that we believe took too long to resolve.
Thankfully, it is back in shape, except that its facilities must be complemented by commitment to develop faster the Pwalugu Project to support more farmers in improving production and their livelihoods as well as supporting GDP growth.
According to the Minister, the way out of the quagmire is for scientists in the sector to develop new ways, relevant know-hows and technologies to help produce ‘food commodities for consumption and processing in sustainable ways.
In his view, there is the need to address that lack because of the scourge of climate change affecting the global food security sector and, particularly, Africa, which is far behind in mechanised farming or digitised agriculture.
Additionally, the revolution is necessary because of the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
But the Daily Statesman also believes scientifically developing agriculture is imperative, if Africa or Ghana, for that matter, wants to be food secure, or effectively compete with global food producing and processing entities.
It is becoming evident that the food security sector is becoming strategic on account of the lessons that the global community has learnt in the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Heeding the Minister’s call, in the opinion of the Daily Statesman, has the potential of remarkably enhancing Ghana’s food security pedigree. Beyond that, it offers the nation and governments on the continent an opportunity to maximise gains, including job creation, under the emerging Africa Continental Free Trade Area initiative.
It is therefore the duty of our agricultural scientists to abide by the call, and come up with programmes and innovations to enable our governments live out their noble dreams for agriculture as the world’s cradle of civilisation.