Decades ago, we looked forward to 2020 with the hope of attaining so many important milestones captured under our vision 2020 agenda as a country. Indeed we have been working collectively to attain these goals. But as it would be, God’s ways are not our ways, man proposes but God disposes. The year 2020 turned out to be a year of pandemic, the year that COVID-19 hit the entire world.

The pandemic hit several sectors hard and agriculture is no exception. Lockdown in several areas affected farming activities, transport of food to market centres and processing of agricultural goods. Closure of borders denied farmers access to certain inputs, fear of contracting disease made several people lock themselves up and stayed away from work, food got locked up in production centres resulting in widespread food losses, scarcity and price hikes.

Just when we thought we were getting closer to attaining food and nutrition security and inching towards SDG 2: zero hunger, the tides turned and now we have to work all the more harder to trace our steps to where we left off.

2020 has been a challenging year, nonetheless we have life. Yes, we lost friends and loved ones, may their souls rest in peace. But we who are alive must rise up, gird up our loins and put our hands back to the plough. This is the time to build back better. In our bid to crease productivity over the decades we took for granted the environment, biodiversity and the security of the very people who produce our food – the food chain workers.

As we outline our COVID-19 recovery plans, it is an opportunity to adopt sustainable innovative solutions based on scientific evidence so that we can build back better and improve food systems, making them more resilient to all forms of shocks.

As a national agricultural research institute, the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission is poised to roll out sustainable agriculture solutions developed in our laboratories and research fields together with our partners towards making our food systems more resilient and robust to withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks. We are now more than ever, ready to deliver affordable and sustainable smart agriculture solutions towards rebuilding our food systems and the livelihoods of the Ghanaian farmer, while preserving the Earth’s natural resources, our health and climate.

On this world food day being marked on the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization under the theme “Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future.”, the management, staff and partners of the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission reassures all Ghanaians of our commitment to work hard so that our food systems grow a variety of foods in a sustainable manner to nourish our growing population and sustain our planet together.

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Director, Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. You can contact the writer director.bnari@gaecgh.org / m.osae@gaecgh.org