Scientists at the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will soon be able to undertake all-year round research activities when a functional irrigation facility becomes operational.

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is providing $289,000.00 to put up the facility, as part of its Africa-wide partnership projects to lift millions of small-scale farmers out of poverty and hunger.

AGRA is sponsoring a three-year project in cowpea, groundnut, cassava, maize and rice improvements at the CRI. These are expected to result in 30percent increase in commodity yields with a corresponding increase in farmers’ incomes.

According to Dr. Hans Adu-Dapaah, the Director of the CRI, the establishment of the irrigation facility “would enable us to produce seed at the right time… and it will cut down the number of years it takes to come up with a crop variety.”

Construction of a 1.8 million dollar biotechnology laboratory at the Institute is also scheduled for completion in November this year.

The lab is being established under the West African Agriculture Productivity Program (WAPP) to aid agricultural research activities, based on Ghana’s comparative advantage in root and tuber crops.

About 30 scientists at the CRI are currently involved in the program. They are engaged in crop improvement and protection, post harvest and value addition, integrated pest management and biotechnology.

Dr. Adu-Dapaah tells Luv Biz Report the facility will promote innovation and upscale production of root and tuber crops.

He noted that “with all these interventions, if marketing is put right and farmers are encouraged, the agricultural landscape would be bright; it will be very bright for Ghana”.

The CRI-CSIR is a leading agricultural research institute in Ghana and has over the past 40 years released a number of high yielding, pest and disease resistant crop varieties.