The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have launched the Global Start Up Labs (GSL) 2019 entrepreneurship training program in the University of Ghana.
GSL is an annual program financed by MIT to nurture young technology-driven entrepreneurs all over the world.
This year’s event which is being hosted by WACCI will take place from July 2nd to August 2nd.
The training falls directly in line with WAACI’s AG-Innovations and Entrepreneurship Hub which has been established to champion the training of the youth in Agribusiness in Africa.
Guest speaker for the opening ceremony, Dr. Irene Egyir, commended WACCI for bringing to light an initiative which will go a long way to address the many problems facing the agricultural sector.
Dr. Irene Egyir, who doubles as a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Ghana, challenged the youth to play their part in ensuring the quality of food produced in the country as it plays an important role in the distribution cycle.
According to her, dealing with Sustainable Development Goal One which is #ZeroHunger will depend on efforts undertaken to address the myriad problems facing the agricultural sector
“The problem of food quality is as important as output or yield. And that for me is the key thing I want young entrepreneurs to be asking when you get to the technical information building session. Zero hunger depends on solving agriculture problems”
She further highlighted that in addressing the major problems in agriculture, particularly factors that affect the quantity of yields produced by farmers, the narrative needs to be shifted from the fact that yields are determined mainly based on the quality of the seeds used.
“The first problem is what we gain; but what we gain, if you have abundant land, the economists will say because of scarcity of land that is why we are thinking of how yielding varieties that will use small acreages and yet give us a lot.
But if you want to do that, it is not only good seed; it is good water, good management practices during planting, weed management, fertilizer application (whether it is conventional or organic GM processes), let it create the right value so that your product that is developed will blow and stay long in the market” she explained.
Dr. Egyir mentioned that in other for farmers to address post-harvest loses, which is also another challenge facing agriculture in the country, efforts must be made to frequently expand the knowledge base of farmers’.
She said, in Ghana, though many are used to the manual mode of harvesting crops, those who depend on technologies have inadequate cognizance on management
“Post-harvest loss is another issue. If you use manual harvesting, there could be more issues. If you use machines harvesting, it calls for more knowledge and skill.
Because, as for Ghana, manual activity is so easy for us. If you are using machines, then you need technical information consistently and that is our problem.
The management; how people get educated; whether formally or asking, watching, practicing and asking question, is a problem” she lamented
Dr.Egyir who is also an associate of WACCI, encouraged participants to always have a knack for improving what they already know as it will equip them to do more to better the agricultural sector.
That is, the youth must always seek for relevant information to build their knowledge base on best farming practices.
Selected participants of the Global Start Up Labs (GSL) 2019 will undertake their training at no cost primarily at the premises of WACCI- University of Ghana
Story by: David Quaye/universnewsroom.com