High-end technology a necessity to enhance sustainable agriculture – Vice Chancellor

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Professor Ben Honyenuga, the Vice Chancellor, Ho Technical University (HTU), said the deployment of high-end technologies to enhance sustainable agriculture and food security is an unavoidable necessity.

He noted that placing greater emphasis on improving the agricultural and related value-chain with appropriate technology was critical for socio-economic development and survival.

The world faced the challenges of climate change, population growth, land degradation and limited natural resources hence agriculture could be made relevant only through research and technology.

The World Population Prospects released by the United Nations Department of Economics, last year, projected that the current world population of 7.7 billion is expected to reach 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050.

Prof Honunyega was addressing the Industry-Academia Tech Dialogue (INDAC-TED), and the Second Agritech Symposium and Exhibition on Friday, the theme: “Application of Agritech to Improve Food Production.”

The partners include the HTU, Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPG), DigiCAP Ghana and AFOS Foundation.

The objective is to establish research driven university-industry partnerships to promote relevant research to industry and national interests in solving socio-economic challenges.

The Vice Chancellor said the use of appropriate technologies in agriculture and related value-chain would help address the food demands for the growing population and increase production through efficiency.

Mr David Gowu, the Executive Director, IIPG, said his outfit had remained steadfast in its commitment to nurturing a vibrant ecosystem for information and communication technology professionals to help transform the country into a technology-driven society.

“This platform has acted as a bridge between academia, industry, and government, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange,” he said, adding that it was geared towards enhancing agriculture.

“As we progress through this event, let us not only absorb knowledge but also foster connections and collaborations. It is through partnerships that we can transform ideas into action, and visions into reality…”

Madam Hanna Schlingmann, Project Manager of DigiCap, said described how the forum would provide a unique platform for academia and industry to share knowledge, and collaborate on solutions towards transforming agriculture in Ghana and beyond.

“We are thrilled to host this event and look forward to the positive impact it will have on the agricultural sector and believe accompanying strategies to spur employment and entrepreneurship,” she said.

Mr Bernhard Vester, Managing Director, AFOS Foundation Germany, said its agriculture project had continued to integrate more agribusiness and value-chains through improved communication and networking.

The Foundation continued to support young agricultural workers and generate rural jobs in the global South and had been operating in Nigeria in the past 20 years, supporting about 55,000 farmers in poultry and aquaculture among other ventures.

Through flexible financial and profitability with lower lending rates, micro-farmers were linked to credits and it intended to create regional clusters soon, he said.

Mr Richard Bosson, Ho Municipal Chief Executive, said government’s flagship programmes like the planting for food and jobs  and for export, the one-village-one-dam, and youth empowerment in the agricultural sector demonstrated its resolve to create employment and  urged students to take advantage.

Dr Christopher Ameho, Registrar of HTU, said the second Agritech Symposium and Exhibition would reposition the University to upscale the achievements from the previous event and leverage on cutting-edge technologies to promote sustainable agriculture and safeguard food security.

Panelists called for deepened relationships among academia, industry and the business community to shore up production.

The exhibition displayed many agricultural value-added products including the re-engineering of baobab seedlings for easy multiplication.

By Maxwell Awumah, GNA

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