Patrick Obeng, GNA
Accra, Sep. 9, GNA - Professor Victor Agyemang, Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has called on government to increase resource allocation to science, technology and innovation.
This he said would ensure that the goals and objectives of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) were achieved.
He said the result of the inadequate allocation of the nation’s budget to science, technology and innovation was that science and technology institutions and facilities were under-funded and ill-equipped, creating a serious strain in the training of scientists and technologists.
Professor Agyemang made the call in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the Digital Monitoring and Tracking for Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in in Africa (AVISA) workshop in Accra.
The two-day workshop was organised by the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of CSIR and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) with funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
About 40 participants drawn from Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and Kenya are attending the workshop.
It was aimed at providing an opportunity to recall some scientific milestones made by key science and technology organisations especially the CSIR.
Prof. Agyemang said science and technology efforts in a country was usually measured by indicators of science and technology, human resource development, research and development, science and technology institutional infrastructure, and private sector investment in science and technology activities.
The Director-General mentioned some of the indicators as science enrolment in secondary, technical, vocational and tertiary institutions, national spending on science and technology education, research and development spending by government and private sector, and the tertiary institutions.
‘Currently, the country’s resource allocation to science and technology, which has fluctuated between 0.3 and 0.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)’is far below the target of one per cent of the GDP prescribed at summit of African Heads of State of the Organisation of African Unity in 1980 under the Lagos Plan of Action and adopted by the AU.
Prof. Agyemang said private sector participation in funding science and technology research endeavours was almost completely absent in Ghana.
He commended Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation for supporting research and education in the biological sciences in Ghana since the inception of Tropical Legumes phases I, II and III and now AVISA Project since 2008.
Dr Chris Ojiewo, Global Co-ordinator of the AVISA Project said varieties of improved seeds were being developed and put into the national seed catalogue, which would be accessible to farmers online.