The Institute of Industrial Research (IIR) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has held an Open Day as part of its stakeholder engagements planned for Work Package 3 of the RECIRCUALTE project which is currently underway.
The event held under the topic, ‘Water for Food Production’ was used as an advocacy tool and engagement strategy to raise awareness of the RECIIRCULATE project and its activities in the development, transfer, and utilization of the research findings and also to exchange knowledge with farmers to explore the commercial potential of irrigation scheduling which sought to address shortfalls in water availability for crop production within the context of national development.
The core objectives of the selected topic ‘Water for Food Production’ which is Work Package 3 under the RECIRCULATE project are to identify what approaches to water-efficient irrigation are most appropriate for the cultivation of fresh produce, given the water resource available.
It also investigates how efficient techniques can be developed and optimized for farmer communities which will require an understanding of the socio-economic barriers to the adoption of water-saving irrigation techniques in selected communities.
The event was in two parts, the first session consisted of the opening and the second part is a field trip to the project site where experimental field trials on the various irrigation scheduling techniques are conducted to compare the growth, yield and water productivity response of tomato plants subjected to thermal imaging (plant sensing) Penman-Monteith (meteorology), tensiometer (soil sensing) and grower intuition methods of irrigation scheduling.
In his welcome address, Mr. Joseph Yaw Amoah, Deputy Director, CSIR-IIR who chaired the event welcomed farmers from the three selected communities in the Central Region of Ghana namely Gomoa Okyereko, Baifikrom, and Mankesim as well as other key stakeholders in the Agri-Food Chain to the Institute and to the event. Mr. Amoah re-emphasized CSIR’s commitment to solving problems through research to facilitate national development.
Mr. Joseph Yaw Amoah gave a brief overview of the Open Day and underscored why it is important for the Institute to open its doors to the general public. He further explained that it is important for stakeholders to know more about CSIR so they tap into CSIR’s expertise.
This Open Day, therefore, serves as a frontier for you to learn at first-hand through interaction, he added.
He acknowledged organizations that collaborated with the Institute and even those who helped the Institute to get data to enrich its field research. He also said that the occasion was an opportunity for self-examination in order to put the Institute on its toes and drive to a better new direction.
Dr. William Owusu Oduro, CSIR-IIR who is the coordinator for the Work Package 3 of the RECIRCULATE project, shed more light on the project with special emphasis on the various Work Packages and their relevance to human sustenance and development. He remarked that the project seeks to help minimize waste and to maximize the benefits derived from natural resources and the environment as a whole.
The second session which lasted for almost two hours was mainly devoted to the technical activities, knowledge sharing, and interactions where scientific research findings met local knowledge and experience. The session was led by Mr. Gilbert Osei who is a versatile researcher with interest in deficit irrigation, drip irrigation, pitcher irrigation, and irrigation water quality. He holds a first degree in General Agriculture and an MPhil degree in Irrigation technology. He is currently a doctoral fellow at the Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Cape Coast, Ghana pursuing a Ph.D. in Irrigation technology and Management.
In his closing remarks, the Chairman said that “it is about time Ghanaians tap into the technologies and research findings from research communities like the CSIR”. This I believe will be an impetus for national development, he remarked. He urged participants to remain committed to the knowledge impacted in order to be successful in their various endeavors.
Mr. Amoah mentioned that though there are challenges within the agribusiness sector especially with access to funding opportunities and patronizing research outputs and technologies, he advised farmers and other participants to form business networks and take advantage of government flagship initiatives like the One District One Factory (1D1F) and the Planting for Food and Jobs. These have the ability to improve your lot, he told participants.