Technology, scientific advances critical to boosting agric in West Africa

The United States Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Stephen Censky, has said that Ghana and other countries in the West African sub-region must ensure they have the right climate to welcome new technologies and scientific advances for the advancement of agriculture.

He said such scientific advancement in relation to nutrition, seeds, and crops, among others, was important to the development of agriculture.

“If West African nations work to develop their agriculture systems, part of that is going to be through the development and use of new technology.

“How can we increase production on a proactive basis? That comes through using new technologies, new seeds, improved livestock genetics and it involves new management techniques and technologies,” he said at a press conference in Accra to wrap up his visit to Ghana where he led a trade mission to West Africa from October 28 to 31, 2019.

He noted that investments were being made in the above areas, though not as quick as people would like to see.

The trade mission was to help the US exporters explore new opportunities in a region where strong economic growth was driving demand for imported food and farm products.

Mr. Censky said agricultural development and increased domestic production, as well as imports, could be complementary but not the enemy of each other.

He said the US was not only interested in exports but also interested in helping to ensure that Ghana’s agriculture would succeed.

“The US imports a lot of food ourselves and I don’t think trade is not the zero-sum game. One can still import food and still be very successful,” he said.

He cited the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) program, ‘Food for Progress’ that had over the last four years invested over US$50 million in support of the domestic poultry industry in Ghana to increase production, feed milling, nutrition, technology as well promotion of eggs and the final product.

“It has been a success. We have seen the US and Ghanaian poultry production increasing,” he said.



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