On December 8, 2017, the BiomassWeb project held a Science-Policy workshop at the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in Accra, Ghana. The workshop was an opportunity for BiomassWeb to disseminate its findings on advances in research in agriculture and food security in Ghana and their implications.
Researchers shared technologies and innovations on food and non-food biomass with policy makers in Ghana, so as to inspire interest among them to consider the findings, and to obtain their feedbacks. This initiative is part of the BiomassWeb project’s Follow the Innovation (FTI) Work Package, lead by Dr. Girma Kelboro Mensuro from the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, to bridge the gap between science and policy, and to foster stronger cooperation between these stakeholders in order to translate scientific findings into practical solutions for food and non-food biomass webs.
The workshop was facilitated by Laurens van Veldhuizen (KIT) and Ms. Paulina Addy (Deputy Director, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana) and drew more than 70 participants from research, national, international, public and private institutions such as the Food Research Institute-CSIR, University of Ghana, Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products, Ghana Cocoa Board, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Energy, Wanjo Africa, Women in Agricultural Development (WiAD), Farm Radio International, etc. The workshop discussions resulted in the following outcomes:
- The participants showed interest and a commitment to take actions towards putting the research findings into the national agricultural programs and practices, taking into account regions specific aspects for relevant technologies, and how to operationalize the process of technology use;
- Actors (private, public, NGO, farmers, etc.) and their roles in the value chains of the crops considered in the studies should be identified for implementing the research findings – in this line, stakeholder consultations and trainings are recommended for awareness creation and meaningful engagement;
- The importance of agricultural mechanization, infrastructure development and transport facilities was emphasized to support the economic role of the crops researched to the farmers;
- Technology dissemination should be supported by the establishment of demonstration sites and action research among the farmers, as well as the simplification of the technologies for widespread adoption;
- Mechanisms should be devised to further develop local values and uses by the farmers. For example, the use of bamboo for charcoal production can be enhanced and the scope of its use enlarged;
- Capacity building actions should consider schools and other social institutions as important channels for introducing new ways of processing and using food crops considered by the studies;
- Possibilities for further research on crops that can resist insects/pests which are, at the same time, high yielding were raised;
- The sustainability of the technology use, its affordability, and gender issues were indicated as further research works required in bringing technologies to the farmers.