CSIR- CRI introduces Alternate Wetting and Drying water- saving irrigation technology to rice farmers

The Crops Research Institute (CRI) under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has introduced a water-saving irrigation technology called alternate wetting and drying to rice farmers at Weta in the Ketu North district of the Volta Region.

The gesture organized in collaboration with Lancaster University in the United Kingdom (UK) was a funded project led by Prof Ian Dodd of the Lancaster University, UK, and Dr Patricia Amankwaa-Yeboah, the African Lead Partner at CSIR-Crops Research Institute.

The project is implemented with a private company to facilitate the commercialization of the product of the research and is aimed at promoting irrigation practices for rice production in hard-to-reach areas, where water is a challenge, especially during the harmattan season.

Speaking at a field day organized for rice farmers at Weta, Dr Patricia Amankwaa- Yeboah, a Senior Research Scientist with the CSIR-CRI explained that previous research had shown that the AWD technology could improve the level of micronutrients in rice grains if adopted by farmers.

She said a team of researchers were therefore investigating this assertion by evaluating different rice genotypes under AWD in field trials on several farmers’ fields across the country.

She continued that, this claim if found true could improve rice utilization in Ghana which would help to eliminate ‘hidden hunger’ in the country since rice was fast replacing several staples and indigenous foods in Africa.

Dr Amankwaa- Yeboah said the research done was to access and build on the advances and successes made by a previous GCRF-funded project called Recirculate to boost rice micronutrient levels in Ghana using improved rice genotypes, hence the introduction of the technology.

She said the research on AWD by CSIR-CRI and its partners in the UK over the past six years had brought out the numerous benefits associated with the new technology.

She said the group had plans to also investigate the feasibility of introducing a “technology package” comprising improved rice genotypes with alternate wetting and drying irrigation management as well as nutrient management initiatives to commercial and subsistence farmers across the country.

Dr Amankwaa- Yeboah was hopeful the initiative would improve the resilience of rice production by minimizing water and nutrient use, and enhance food and nutrition security to promote locally grown nutrient-enriched rice.

Dr Stephen Yeboah, a Senior Research Scientist and Co-Principal Investigator of the project also mentioned that inadequate water and nutrient supplies limit crop yields and there was a need for farmers to manage their resources efficiently to ensure long-term agricultural sustainability and local food security.

He stated that research on AWD by CSIR-CRI and its partners in the UK over the past years had brought out the numerous benefits associated with the technology, mentioning some as the environmental and cost savings in water and nutrients, improved yields that could result in increased income for the farmer as well as savings in labour and fuel used in pumping water for irrigation.

The Director of the CSIR- CRI Prof. M. B. Mochiah, urged farmers to adopt the alternate wetting and drying irrigation technology to help them increase the resilience of their rice production systems to the changing climate where water is envisaged to become an increasingly limiting factor for sustainable rice production.

Mr Atsu Vincent, who spoke on behalf of the farmer group, expressed their appreciation to the researchers and encouraged them to engage farmers in the scheme in their research.

He said farmers understand research better when they were engaged directly in the process and are more likely to embrace the technology when they see instant gains associated with it and was of the view that AWD technology would go a long way to help farmers save water and get good yields.

Some of the project team members who participated in the programme were Dr Ophelia Asirifi Amoako from the CSIR- Savanna Agricultural Research Institute, (CSIR-SARI) and Mr Eugene Zori from New Age Agric Solutions.

Source: Ghana News Agency

‘We were warned,’ report predicted Kejetia Market fire 11 months ago – Kwesi Pratt discloses

Parts of the Kejetia Market, one of the monumental projects in the Asanti Regional capital, Kumasi, was on Wednesday engulfed in fire which destroyed wares estimated at millions of Ghana Cedis.

The cause of the fire is not yet officially known. However, reports so far indicate that it was due to a trader cooking with gas.

Meanwhile, documents provided by the Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr indicates that the Kejetia market failed to meet some requirement.

“A year ago, infact eleven months ago, that report I think was written in April . . . we are in March so eleven months ago we were warned,” he told Kwami Sefa Kayi.

The document cited structural defects, the facility not meeting the fire precaution measures and many others.

“All washing rooms need to undergo preventive maintenance to correct damages on the materials and equipment installed. All the washrooms have problems with faucets, toilets and plumbing. Preventive maintenance must also be carried out so that the system remains in constant and correct operation.

“It was identified that the ice machine has and continues to present substantial leaks of both hydraulic oil and gas. Nevertheless, the equipment is still in operation, increasing the existing damage that will further compromise the equipment.

“Currently, the occupation of the market is not in line with the originally defined plans and in case of an emergency, the evacuation routes are not cleared of obstructions.

“The most worrisome are the issues related to the fire fighting and fire suppression system that are not working as designed. In the case of fire, severe consequences can arise that might cause loss of life,” portions of the document read.

Source: Ghana Web

LaLiga set to unveil grassroot football in Ghana

LaLiga is set to roll out LaLiga grassroot in Ghana, a programme which will offer football opportunities for talents in Ghana and beyond.

This was revealed during an engagement held by LaLiga Ghana and Nigeria representatives with the Ghanaian media in Accra on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.

The programme is to support, promote and strengthen grassroots football worldwide.

The Communication and Project Coordinator for LaLiga Global Initiative, Ayodeji Adegbenro said they have thought of the initiative in some other parts of the African countries namely Nigeria, South Africa, among others but want to kick start the programme in Ghana.

“We thought of this stuff in Nigeria and some other parts of Africa but we are keen to actually start with Ghana because Ghana is a very important country to LaLiga and the LaLiga projects”, he explained.

“We’ve had the project in South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria and Cameroon. We don’t have Ghana yet but hopefully, very soon Ghana will show up. An example of one of our projects is LaLiga egalite in Cameroon. It is basically a youth league for girls that started about two years ago. We train grassroots female coaches to train these girls”, he added.

They’ve had talks with the GFA and Sports Ministry and expect to pilot the project in Ghana to help with the development of grassroot football.

“We’ve had meetings with the GFA and the Sports Ministry and we are hoping to replicate some of these projects in Ghana to aid the development of football at grassroots level,” he said.

Source: Ghana Web

Read the full judgement, judge didn’t call you ‘blackmailer, evil’ in isolation – Anas told

Charles Nii Teiko Tagoe, a presidential staffer, has tasked Anas Aremeyaw Anas to fully digest a recent ruling by an Accra High Court that made scathing findings against him.

The journalist had sued Assin Central Member of Parliament Kennedy Agyapong for defamation but the court dismissed the case and slapped him with a 50,000 cedis fine by way of costs to the MP.

In a March 17, 2023 Facebook post, Tagoe shared excerpts of the court ruling with a caption that read: “The trial Judge did not use the following words,” a blackmailer, corrupt, an extortionist, and evil” in isolation. Instead of you to take your time and read the full Judgment, you are on social media expressing emotions.”

Anas vs. Ken Agyapong defamation case

An Accra High Court on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, struck out a defamation suit brought by investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas against Assin Central Member of Parliament, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong.

The plaintiff, filed the case in 2018, seeking among other reliefs monetary damages to the tune of GH¢25 million.

However, the court presided by Justice Eric Baah despite finding various claims made by the defendant against the plaintiff as potentially defamatory, ruled that the comments were factual and fair.

The court subsequently dismissed the suit and awarded the defendant a sum of 50,000 Ghana cedis to cover his legal costs.

The MP has subsequently referred to the ruling as a victory for straight talk over investigative terrorism.

The journalist also expressed grave misgivings about the ruling describing it in part as a travesty of justice. He, has also confirmed that his legal team will file an appeal, stressing that his fight against corruption will continue unabated.

Source: Ghana Web

‘Ghana is exporter of peace’- U.S. Ambassador

The U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Virginia Palmer, has described Ghana as an exporter of peace and a leader in the African Region. She commended the country for being a top contributor of uniformed peacekeepers to UN peace operations. Madam Palmer was speaking at the U.S. Special Operations Command – Africa Exercise Flintlock 2023 closing ceremony jointly held in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in Accra. Flintlock is U.S. Africa Command’s premier and largest annual special operations exercise, which aims to strengthen key partner nation forces throughout Africa alongside the U.S. and international special operations force communities to counter violent extremist organisations collaborating across borders. The two-week field training exercise is now a multinational exercise comprised of 30 African and international partners, operating across five sites, spanning two countries (Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire) and conducting command post exercises, field training exercises, and now, for the first time, maritime training exercises with 1400 participants. The exercise kicked off on March 1, 2023, with a week of academic training before transitioning to the command posts and tactical training exercises on March 7. The training ended with a capstone on March 14, 2023. The Ambassador said Ghana’s steadfast commitment to peace and regional security was demonstrated by deploying nearly 2,800 military and police peacekeepers to eight UN peacekeeping operations on the continent. ‘I am proud of the security cooperation partnership the United States enjoys with Ghana and our longstanding partnership is based on shared democratic values and a shared history, ‘ she stated. The Ambassador said through the Flintlock exercise, the United States government had demonstrated the strength of its relationship with Ghana. She said they had focused on supporting Ghana as a leader in West Africa, working together on regional security, investing in people through long-term development relationship, protecting democratic institutions, and advancing mutual prosperity. Madam Palmer said in the past two weeks, the Ghana Armed Forces had also demonstrated that in addition to its robust peacekeeping efforts, it was a capable leader in highly specialised operational command and control. ‘This is one of many reasons the United States is committed to supporting the Ghana Armed Forces through training and technical support,’ she added. The Ambassador said this year, the U.S. government would exceed $48million dollars in security cooperation support to Ghana. She said Ghana’s commitment to freedom of assembly, religious tolerance, and respect for human rights was foundational to its status as a successful democracy. ‘We know that building a strong, inclusive economy is also one of the best ways to support the stability in, which democracies flourish,’ she said. Madam Palmer said through multi-year implementation of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, the U.S. Government would work across Coastal West Africa to promote inclusive economic growth and accountable governance to prevent conflict. The Ambassador said they were implementing programmes in Ghana that would support local communities as they sought to provide economic opportunities to vulnerable populations. The programmes would also strengthen the military-to-military relationship, and bolster the capacity of the Ghanaian security services to ensure that Ghana remained resilient in the face of an increasing threat from violent extremist organisations. Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said cooperation and partnership in the fight against terror and violent extremism had generated not just interest, but also enthusiasm among the participants. He said: ‘The skills developed in Flintlock exercise, particularly the skill of planning and conducting joint, multinational operations are of vital importance for ensuring peace in the sub-region at this critical time.’ Vice Admiral Amoama said the ‘recent activities of these terrorist groups in the West African sub-region reflect how these groups operate across border, therefore, highlighting the importance of joint security exercise such as Flintlock, which is designed to neutralise these threats’.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Be polite but insist on payments – ECG boss urges staff ahead of revenue mobilisation

Ahead of the commencement of the Revenue Mobilization exercise dubbed “20-20”, Mr Samuel Dubik Mahama, Managing Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has urged his staff to be very firm but polite in collecting locked up revenues.

The exercise, slated to begin on March 20 to April 20, 2023, is using the all-hands-on-deck approach and will see all top officials of ECG physically on the ground, collecting monies from customers who have been billed by the company from September 2022 to February 2023, including State Owned Enterprises and companies on Special Load Tariff (SLT).

Visiting the Tema, Accra East and Accra West, Volta, Ashanti, Western, Central, Projects and Eastern Regional offices, Mr Mahama said, “We have no business sitting behind our desks when we have revenues locked up out there. When you go out, please be extremely polite to our customers, introduce yourselves properly with your ID cards, and insist on payments.”

The Managing Director said he was aiming at collecting 100% of the locked up revenues, totalling over GHS5 billion.

“You can imagine what this amount of money will mean for ECG and the economy in these trying times. Let us make this work. Everyone must bring home some money and whiles you are out there, look out for illegal connections, and report accordingly,” he added.

Mr. Mahama asked staff not to take cash from customers but rather direct them to use the ECG Power App or dial short code *226# to make payment.

Staff were also told that they can assist customers who want to pay with cheques to generate payment advice numbers from the app, which will be presented together with cheques at the bank.

Also, customers can go to a Momo agent with their meter and account numbers on the same *226#.

Source: Ghana Web

Market fires are preventable; Assemblies must sit up

Fire prevention is a shared responsibility, and if indeed market fires are to be prevented then a big responsibility lies on the shoulders of the custodians of the markets – the Assemblies. They must complement the efforts of the Fire Service to end or reduce market fires in the country. The first major market fire gutted and caused extensive damage to Makola Market where wares running into millions of Ghana cedis were destroyed in 1992. The Fire Service thereafter constituted Market Fire Prevention Teams, which were responsible for fire safety education in the markets, conducting risk assessment and market patrols in all markets. These annual risk assessment reports are submitted to the local Assemblies to implement the recommendations, but the reports only gather dust on their shelves. Until 2013 after a series of preventable fire outbreaks in markets across the country, the Government engaged the services of experts from the United States of America to investigate the ritual fire outbreaks. Expectations were very high that the work of the forensic investigators was going to do the magic to serve as the blue print to deal with fire related issues in the markets. But, it is one thing prescribing the medicine, and another administering it. The Assemblies have again refused to implement recommendations from the forensic experts, which were replicates of the recommendations submitted yearly to the Assemblies by the local Fire Teams. It is clear that until the Custodians of the markets whose interests are not in the maintenance but revenue collection do reorganisation of the markets into well-defined structures, the infernos would continue to ravage our markets, like what happened at the Dubai section of the new Kejetia Market in Kumasi yesterday. State of markets in developing economies Unfortunately, markets in the developing economies do not have well-planned and proper layouts, so they are congested. Anytime fire breaks out in the markets, it spreads very rapidly and becomes very difficult for fire tenders to get access and maneuver for firefighting. In Ghana, the only market designed and built with safety, protection of lives and property in mind is the Makola Market near the City Fire Station Accra. Kudos to the Architects who did perfect work in designing the Makola Market. The Market is divided into four equal parts with alleys, which are to serve as access routes for vehicles to discharge goods. The routes are also to be used for emergency purposes without hindrance or obstruction to other users. Unfortunately, over the years, the alleys have been either located to traders or encroached upon by traders. Recommendations that the Assemblies failed to implement It was recommended that the Assemblies provided and strengthened security at the markets and ensured that securitymen patrolled the markets at all times. The securitymen were to be provided with basic equipment (communication gadgets, fire fighting equipment, etc.) to enhance their work. Securitymen and traders in the markets were to be trained on how to use basic fire fighting equipment and educated on the causes and prevention of fires. The Assemblies were also to submit fire plans and protection reports to the Fire Service to be reviewed to ensure that adequate means of escape were available, satisfactory fire detection and warning systems and the relevant fire fighting equipment were provided. They were also to engage the services of Safety Officers for every market and train some of the securitymen and the traders as fire wardens. The Assemblies were also asked to discourage mobile fufu vendors from operating in the markets because they carried embers, which may be blown onto combustible materials and ignite them. Cooking and setting of fires in the markets were also to be discouraged with a designated place made for cooking. Market authorities were to ensure that overaged electrical circuits were replaced and amateur electricians discouraged from tampering with the electrical circuits. Heaters, LPG and other similar gadgets which have the potential of causing fires were to be used carefully. The use of carbide to hasten the ripening of plantain, banana and other foodstuffs was also to be discouraged. The Assemblies were also to ensure segregation of occupancy ie. similar items should be sold at designated areas and every market having a built in Fire Post manned by Fire personnel at all times. Fire safety audit reports on markets From the study of the fire audit reports on markets, the following observations were made. Most of the markets were found not to have any form of fire protection and have safety lapses, including the following: Obstruction of access routes to the markets, non-availability of adequate sources of water for fire fighting, non segregation of high rated combustible items from low rated ones, and reckless use of sources of ignition (electricity and naked fire). The rest are poor communication facilities, lack of commitment of market management authorities to ensure fire safety in the markets and poor security arrangement in the markets. Other relevant issues The committee in the course of its deliberations, identified some weaknesses and recommended that adequate and appropriate logistics be made available to Fire officers at the Fire Post to carry out effective fire education and other activities. It also asked that regular simulation exercises on fire fighting, and evacuation be conducted in conjunction with stakeholders and that early childhood development centres in the markets be sited close to exits to facilitate evacuation and rescue in times of emergency. If all the above are given the needed attention and all relevant stakeholders perform their respective roles effectively, the rate at which fires break out in the markets will drastically be reduced and the extent of damage minimised.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Promote education, innovation and entrepreneurship for economic growth – MCE

Mr. Frank Aidoo, the Akuapim South Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), has advised citizens to help promote education, innovation and entrepreneurship for economic growth and job creation in the country. They must also be empowered to actively participate in the development of the country by encouraging a culture of creativity and excellence. Mr. Aidoo was speaking at the recently independence anniversary celebration noted that the theme for the anniversary sought to remind citizens of the importance of teamwork to achieve a common goal. ‘We must remember that it is only through our collective efforts that we can build a stronger and more prosperous Ghana despite the challenges we face’, he said. Notwithstanding the country’s achievements made in terms of peace, democracy and governance, Mr. Aidoo, said, ‘we face challenges such as poverty, unemployment, climate change among others’. As a result, he called on all citizens across the country to embrace the spirit of patriotism and unity. ‘Let us patronize the interests of our nation above individual interests and work together to achieve our shared aspirations’, he noted.

Source: Ghana News Agency