Dr Edward Yeboah, the new Director of the Soil Research Institute (SRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has pledged to offer effective leadership in soil research, management and utilization.
He said the CSIR-SRI had already achieved excellent from research focusing on soil nutrient management, varietal release, and addressing nutrient deficiencies in the soils for optimal yield, especially in rice production.
Speaking at a ceremony to formally induct him as the Director of CSIR-SRI at Kwadaso near Kumasi, Dr Yeboah pledged to lead a team of researchers for Ghana to be self-sufficient in rice production.
“With good training and soil management practices, of an acre of field, one can get at least six tonnes of rice”, he said adding that, the SRI was now focusing on improved yields and maintaining the soil for sustainable production.
He said Ghana was in the position to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production, and as a research institution, SRI needed to work towards that and reduce importation of rice into the country.
The Director pointed out that the ‘One Village One Dam’ concept and other irrigation facilities that were currently being rolled out in the country were opportunities needed to harness to improve rice yields.
A good number of rice on the market were imported one, he observed, and suggested that, the amount of money used in importing could be explored to develop the infrastructure and facilities required to wean Ghana of rice import.
Dr Yeboah said the Institute would continue to discharge its mandate to generate technologies and build capacity for effective planning, development and management of the soil resources of Ghana for increased and sustainable agriculture, environmental qualities, and improved livelihoods.
He said CSIR-SRI was working towards becoming the center of excellence in research, development and innovation in tropical soil resources.
On soil digitization, he pledged to bring relevant stakeholders on board to harmonize soil mapping for Ghana which he believed would be pivotal in the developmental agenda.
“We have realized that there are a number of institutions, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fertiliser Development Center and the Northern Development Authority that are also working towards soil maps for Ghana.”
He said the SRI would further strengthen collaborations with CSIR agri-based Institutes to work towards sustainability and excellence.