THE UNITED STATES Agency for International Development (USAID) has signed a five year Technical and Financial Support agreement with the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) with the aim of transforming the institute into a Centre of excellence for research and development in Africa.
Under the agreement, the CSIR-SARI is receiving a whopping 5.5 million dollars to improve and maintain infrastructure and facilities to support research and development, implement market and client-oriented sustainable research programme, enhance the capacity of SARI to mobilize and manage resources for research activities and to also strengthen organizational structures and processes for enhancing service delivery.
The Director of SARI, Dr. Stephen K. Nutsugah, at a ceremony to officially sign the implementation letter of USAID/Ghana, CSIR-SARI Technical and Financial Support programme at Nyankpala, commended the US government for the support.
The CSIR-SARI’s mission in the Northern Region is to conduct agricultural research aimed at developing and introducing improved technologies that will enhance overall farm productivity for improved livelihoods.
He said that the USAID Technical and Financial Support was designed to strengthen the human and institutional capacity for agricultural research, generate and disseminate technology and provide selected infrastructure and equipment to enhance research work.
According to him, CSIR-SARI even though had the most experienced and skillful workforce to undertake research works, the issue of lack of funds had always been the major hindrance.
“The USAID technical and financial support could, therefore, not have come at a more opportune time than this to motivate research scientists to remain focused on their core mandate of technology generation and dissemination to ensure food security and increase incomes of smallholder farmers in the USAID Feed the Future intervention zone,” he noted.
Dr. Nutsugah insisted that the SARI had a mandate to provide farmers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions with the appropriate technologies to increase food and fibre crop production, since agriculture continued to be the strongest option for achieving accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction in Ghana.
The USAID/Ghana Mission Director, James Bever praised CSIR-SARI for their outstanding track record as the leading agricultural research institute in the savannah regions and their numerous technical supports to farmers in the country.
He encouraged farmers in Ghana and for that matter Africa not to underrate the research findings and recommendations of research scientists in order to avoid threats on their crops. Mr. James Bever pledged the USAID’s continuous support and partnership with SARI to enhance food security in Ghana.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Lemuna in a speech read for him by the Deputy Regional Minister, Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini said government over the years had tried in diverse ways to meet the financial needs of SARI, but there had always been a huge challenge.
He, therefore, commended USAID for the support and charged the institute to make judicious use of the funds. He was confident that the grant support to SARI would transform the institute into a Centre of excellence in agricultural research and development
Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle