Source: Daily Guide

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor last Friday was honoured by the Forum for African Research in Africa (FARA) for his exemplary leadership of the Agricultural Development Agenda in Africa at a glitzy gala night at the Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The citation to the award commended former President Kufuor for his “Advocacy role towards securing funding for the work of FARA, and for his belief in science and technology as the bedrock for the transformation of agriculture in Africa.”

The award, presented by Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director of FARA, was received on behalf of former President Kufuor by Frank Agyekum, Spokesperson and Special Aide to the ex-president.

Former President Kufuor, in a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Agyekum, underscored the importance of innovation, science and technology in agriculture as means for turning around Africa’s fortunes and regretted that for far too long agricultural practice on the continent is still at the basic stage.

“Agricultural practices in our part of the world today, resemble those done by our fore-fathers centuries ago. We till the land using the same rudimentary methods that are centuries old.

“This makes farming and other agricultural practices backbreaking, tedious, unrewarding and unattractive, especially to the youth.

“Yet, at the same time, we have witnessed how innovation, scientific, technological advancements have benefited farmers in the industrialized world by driving agriculture production, often into abundance. This makes farming attractive, beneficial and lucrative.

“The smallholder farmers who are responsible for 80 percent of the food in the developing world have yet to see similar gains.

“These farmers, majority of whom are women, lack access to many of the modern tools and means needed to be successful, such as modern irrigation methods, crop management strategies, proper application of fertilizers, solutions to post-harvest losses, improved seedlings, mobile technology, and access to information and extension services, among others,” former President Kufuor said.

Former President Kufuor said: “The successes achieved in other jurisdictions can be replicated in Africa.

“This we can do through innovation and the application of modern scientific and technological ways of agriculture; for instance, by giving farmers access to real-time information and services in the field and through much greater investments.

“If we do this, we can move dramatically toward increasing productivity yields, conserving food, reducing post-harvest losses and food wastage and eventually attain food sustainability by curbing hunger and malnutrition among our people.

“In going forward however, we must adopt climate smart agricultural practices that will conserve the environment, produce crops that are adaptable and resilient to the ever growing threat of climate change,’ he said.

The awards night marked the end of the week-long celebration of the 15th anniversary of FARA under the theme: “Delivering Africa’s future through science-led agricultural transformation,” which attracted about 1,000 participants from across the globe.

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