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April 21, 2008

Brazil opens regional agricultural research center in Ghana

Brazil on April 20 inaugurated a Regional Office of its Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) in Accra to spearhead agricultural revolution in Africa.

Ghana’s President John Kufuor and visiting Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva jointly performed the inauguration, with Ghana contributing US$500,000 towards the Office. The Accra Office, among other things, will facilitate technical co-operation activities for agricultural development, technology transfer, ensure availability of research findings to industry and enhance human resource capacity building.

Additionally, it is designed to help to deepen South-South co-operation through collaboration of Ghanaian and Brazilian scientists.

EMBRAPA, established in April 1973, has developed into a major world player in agricultural research and technology development, contributing an estimated US$40 billion to Brazil’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Kufuor said the expectation was that close collaboration with the Brazilian institution would result in the sharing of knowledge, transfer of appropriate technologies and best practices for radical transformation of agriculture in Ghana and other African nations. "The goal is to achieve food security and make Africa a net exporter of agricultural produce," he said. Kufuor said in the past, increase in agricultural production in Africa was achieved by putting more land under cultivation.

However, with the present climatic changes and emerging environmental concerns, maximization of production must come through irrigation, use of fertilizers and application of biotechnology. President Kufuor said the hope of the Government was that EMBRAPA would complement the country’s efforts to stimulate national economic activity through agriculture.

President Lula da Silva said he was confident that with the inauguration, Ghana was going to make a big difference by way of its contribution to the transformation of agriculture in Africa. He described the inauguration of the Accra Office as a fulfilment of his commitment to the Region.

He said their priority was to give technical training and support the Office with the tools to build its own future.


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