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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Prof Sefa Dedeh has call for modernization of agric sector

The Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences of the University of Ghana, Professor Sefa-Dedeh, has called for a value-chain approach to modernize the country’s agriculture sector.

He made this call when he delivered the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences’ (GAAS) inaugural lecture in Accra on Wednesday, which formed part of activities to mark the GAAS’ 50th anniversary celebration.

Professor Sefa-Dedeh admitted, though, that increasing food production is good; yet, adding value to the produce would help champion the modernization agenda and make the country’s produce acceptable on the international market.

The programme was on the theme, “Modernizing Ghana’s Agribusiness: Science, Technology, Engineering and Indigenous Bioprocess Systems”.

He said issues of land acquisition, accelerating irrigation infrastructure, access to credit and agriculture inputs, promoting selective crop development, improving access to extension services, among others, which has grabbed the attention of governments only ensure agricultural production at the expense of value.

Prof. Sefa-Dedeh stressed that scientists, technologists and engineers trained in handling and managing the transformation of food crops and markets need to re-orient their strategy to suit the taste of consumers.

He said in view of the nature of consumers having varied tastes, attention must be paid to issues of quality and standards to meet their demands.

He, however, wondered why people have resorted to unhygienic means of food preservation that pose health threat to consumers instead of the traditional methods of preserving food which ensures food safety.

He called for intensive informal education by all to promote good handling, processing and packaging of food.

Professor Sefa-Dedeh suggested that pilot plants for testing innovative processes and products should be established to enhance the modernization of the agric sector as well as the establishment of small co-packing facilities that would provide services to small and medium scale food enterprises on processing and packaging of food to meet requirements of food safety regulations.

Source: GNA

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