New Methodology To Enhance Agric Technology Transfer

A sensitisation workshop to introduce a new methodology to enhance transfer and adoption of agriculture technologies to increase crop yields and incomes of farmers ended in Koforidua on Friday. Regional and district directors of agriculture, officials of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), researchers, planning officers of district assemblies, media personnel and other stakeholders in the food crop value chain from Eastern, Central and Volta Regions attended the workshop. Dr Isaac O. O. Ansah, Research Fellow, said due to challenges associated with effective dissemination of research, many good agricultural technologies remained unused by farmers and the rate of technological transfer and adoption by farmers had not been intensive as expected. He said to overcome these challenges and to promote accelerated technological transfer and adaptation, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, proposed a shift from research to extension and then to farmer technological transfer approach, using the Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) approach. Dr Ansah said the IAR4D methodology uses the Innovation Platform (IP) for the dissemination of research findings, which allows the use of innovative methods including indigenous knowledge, convention and unconventional agricultural research and development to transfer new ideas, which make it easier for farmers to adopt. He said in some parts of the country where the IAR4D approach were tested, it proved very successful. Dr Ansah said the West African Agricultural Production Project had therefore proposed the use of the IAR4D approach for technological scale up in the production of sweet potatoes at Akatsi in the Volta Region, cassava at Mfantsiman District in the Central Region and cocoyam at Fanteakwa District in the Eastern Region. He said the project had also proposed the development of yam production in the Northern Region, cassava in the Sunyani West Municipality in the Brong Ahafo Region and yam at Ejura in the Ashanti Region. Dr J. N. Berchie of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research said the IP brings together stakeholders in the food production value chain including researchers, farmers, tractor operators, drivers, agricultural input dealers, food sellers and processors, agricultural extension agents, officials of district assemblies and MOFA to address an identified agricultural problem. He said, the IP provides the opportunity for people with different background and competence to share experience and knowledge and cross fertilise ideas, which enable local ideas and institutions to be used to facilitate technological transfer and easy adoption. Mr Emmanuel Agyei Odame, of the Agriculture Extension Directorate of the MOFA, said with the dwindling of the numbers of agriculture extension agents and staff of the Agriculture Ministry on the field, the IP provides the opportunity for the dissemination of information on farmer to farmer basis to fill in the gab.