Oforikrom Municipal Assembly spearheads research into new varieties of onion production

By Florence Afriyie Mensah

Fumesua (Ash), March 22, GNA – The Oforikrom Municipal Assembly in the Ashanti region, is spearheading the research and development of new varieties and technologies to increase onion production by farmers in the municipality.

The assembly has, thus, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Crops Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CRI), to commit funds for research activities to develop and release new varieties of onions and technologies for their cultivation and production by farmers in the area.

The MOU will allow CRI, which has the mandate to develop and disseminate demand-driven technologies and build capacities for sustainable food and industrial crops production, to come out with appropriate varieties and technologies that will help increase crop yield and boost onion production and incomes of the farmers for the next five years.

Professor Moses Brandford Mochiah Director CSIR-CRI, at the signing of the MoU at Fumesua in the Ejisu Municipality, said Ghanaian farmers had been importing onion seedlings from neighbouring Burkina Faso and it was time the Institute took up steps to bridge that gap.

He said onion was one of the neglected, but critical horticultural crop on the Ghanaian menu and commended the Oforikrom Municipal Assembly for helping to build local research support content and addressing technology gaps in that area.

Prof. Mochiah indicated that, for sustainable food and industrial crops productivity, such partnerships were crucial, adding that it would enhance the livelihoods of the farmers and help address national food needs.

The CRI, he said, was strategically placed to develop technologies towards food, nutrition, and income security.

Prof Mochiah pointed out that the Institute had since its establishment developed and released more than 200 crop varieties to end users in the country.

Among the crops are maize, rice, cassava, plantain, tomatoes, cowpea and common bean, groundnuts, among others.

He was hopeful that with such support for the horticultural industry, and on research and technologies development and dissemination, monies used to import fruits and vegetables to produce in the country would be a thing of the past.

Prof. Mochiah called on other district assemblies to emulate the efforts of Oforikrom by supporting research into the development and dissemination of specific crop varieties, which were grown in their areas to help improve and sustain the agricultural value chain in their areas.

Mr Abraham Kwame Antwi, Municipal Chief Executive (MCEC) for Oforikrom, said the major objective of the assembly was to ensure the development of the people and key among this, was the local economic development by empowering the people economically and sustaining their livelihood activities.

He said although the municipality did not have vast lands, it was surrounded by major streams where vegetable farming were predominant among the people.

The municipality, he indicated had an all-year round vegetable farming activities.

It was, therefore, important that the assembly acquired improved seedlings for the farmers and help them with modern and appropriate planting technologies to boost production to feed the country and contribute to national food security.

The Reverend Dr. John Manu, Ashanti Regional Director of Agriculture, commended the Assembly and the CSIR-CRI for the partnership.

He said countries like South Korea, Japan, and China who took research and development seriously have turned fortunes around with agriculture.

He said Ghana could do the same if research and development were prioritized.

Rev. Dr Manu said it was high time the government supported the research institutes to come out with technologies and products that would promote national development.