The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is setting up a digital agriculture innovation hub where farmers and other stakeholders will access research information to aid their farming activities and boost food production.
Professor Paul Bosu, the Deputy Director General of the CSIR, who announced this in Accra, said the innovation hub would use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and other modern technologies to establish a more effective connection between agriculture researchers, farmers, investors and other relevant stakeholders.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day national coordinating workshop for the Research-Extension-Farmer-Linkages Committee (RELC), Prof Bosu said the hub was being established through the efforts of scientists of the CSIR-Institute of Scientific and Technology Information (INSTI) and the Government.
It is being funded from the Canadian Global Affairs Programme.
“The digital agricultural innovation hub, expected to be ready by middle of 2020, will seek to establish a standardised scientific and technology content infrastructure for integrated data and information exchange and dissemination among stakeholders, especially famers.”
It would also build an agriculture and research data management system and foster a national platform for open sourcing of data on natural resources and farming activities.
“In other words, CSIR is seeking to collate all the technologies developed over the years and put them together in a digital format and ensure that they will even be available to the public through android applications.”
“So we are looking forward to in a few months to come, having our technologies, seed sources, seedlings and other things all available on android phones so as to be seen as effectively disseminating research technology to farmers”
Thirdly, the CSIR would, through the technology hub, provide essential and validated agronomic data, including soil and irrigation land maps, research output, and new technologies to farming communities, Prof Bosu said.
He explained that the RELC was an interface between the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) and the National Agricultural Extension System with a primary purpose of making extension services delivery demand-driven and responsive to the needs of the value-chain actors.
The RELC is an important platform that ensures that agriculture technology and innovations are effectively transferred to farmers for their application.
The meeting was, therefore, to enable the participants to discuss issues of research and bring to the fore policy issues emanating from RELC planning sessions and outcomes of its activities for 2018/2019, and plan for the year ahead.
Prof. Bosu explained that the successes chalked by Ghanaian farmers have been possible because of the services and support of researchers, agricultural experts, extension officers and members of the RELC.