Did you know that the second Friday of October is World Egg Day? Unknown to many so-called enlightened Ghanaians, the Animal Research Institute (ARI) of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been celebrating the day at some selected schools in the country.

The goal: to encourage the consumption of eggs.

All our lives, we have read and been taught that the intake of eggs can lead to heart attack by increasing the cholesterol level in the human body.

However, yours truly has laid hands on a report prepared for the American Council on Science and Health. This report, submitted in 2002, concludes that “dietary cholesterol has only a small effect on blood cholesterol and that the consumption of eggs — up to an intake of one egg per day — has no detectable effect on heart disease risk in healthy people.”

The Director of the Animal Research Institute, Dr E.K. Adu, is a passionate advocate of “One Egg A Day”. He says it makes sense, especially for people in poorer countries since, “in addition to their nutritional value, eggs are inexpensive, convenient, easy to prepare and easy to chew”.

And now, thank God for scientific research, it is also possible to modify some aspects of the nutritional composition of eggs by feeding the hens special diets. As I write this column, scientists at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) are working on what has become known as ‘Designer Eggs” - eggs fortified with increased amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E.

I have chosen to start this write-up on CSIR-ARI on this note because the One Egg a Day campaign could mean a lot of money for our poultry farmers. Can you imagine the soaring demand for eggs through the School Feeding Programme! Can you imagine the effect of all of this on President Akufo-Addo’s agricultural campaign! My only problem is the campaign tag. Too mouthful, methinks. I propose “One Man, One Farm”.

Since its establishment in the First Republic, the ARI has contributed to national development through the following, among other inventions:

Wheat bran in animal feed. Until the discovery of wheat bran as animal feed, the flour mills in Ghana were burning their wheat bran as waste, while we imported feed.

ARI breed of chicken – In order to reduce the country's dependence on imported breeding stock, the institute has introduced a new breed of chicken that combines the characteristics of fast growth with adaptation to the harsh environmental conditions. Known for short as 'Aribro' (i.e. ARI broilers) it is a new kind of breed for the production of day-old chicks for broilers.

The Aribro birds achieve a growth rate of 1.8 kilos at eight weeks. They are lean and have a survival rate of 97 per cent . It dresses quite well.

Producing 10,000 day-old chicks a week for onward distribution to all 10 regions in the country and for export, the ARI aims to produce some 20 million broilers a year. In his 2015 State of the Nation address, the then President said that target would save the economy about $150million.

ARI breed of sheep – Sheep produced at ARI has a birth rate of 26 per cent and have a 34 per  cent lower mortality rate than the Sahelian breed.

ARI piggery: no scent – Wondering why pigs are associated with bad odour, the ARI has, through years of research, discovered that pigs do not have to smell as terribly as we know them. Indeed, with the right husbandry, pigs do not even need to be washed at all. In the process of research, the ARI has also discovered a way of saving 20 per cent - 30 per cent on pig-feed.

Grasscutter production – Through research, ARI has introduced grasscutter rearing in cages. Now, instead of grass, there is scientifically formulated grasscutter feed. They can be de-wormed and protected against other diseases. The result has been amazing. At the market, one (small) female grasscutter fetches the same price as one (huge) female cow.

Insect for feed – Traditionally, Ghanaian livestock farmers import a lot of fishmeal to feed their livestock. The ARI is currently piloting a project that makes it possible to produce fly larvae as livestock feed. The experiment involves the use of rotten fruits as feed for flies, including the black soldier flies. The institute is developing a Fly Larvae Park.

Unibrain C-Clear - Jointly with the Agriculture Departments of the various universities, ARI has come up with the University Business and Research in Agricultural Innovation (UNIBRAIN). One of its models is the C-CLEAR, a livestock agri-business incubator in Ghana that provides investment support to graduate interns to establish business enterprises in various livestock value chains. The project links the incubatees with start-up capital, infrastructure and veterinary support, teaching them how to brand and market the product and keep books.

One of the project’s incubatees, Grace Okai, won the Best Pig Farmer award at the last Farmers Day celebration.

You cannot tour ARI’s farms (off the Adentan-Frafraha road) without wondering why any government would undertake a national Guinea fowl project without reference to this Institute of the CSIR. The ARI has all the answers – from breeding to marketing.

The government says it will boost the operations of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to make it a force behind the country’s development agenda.

The government will partner the CSIR to examine, explore and create science and technology  catalysts for public and private sector development.

Interacting with the management and staff of the council, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, said the government acknowledged that there could be no meaningful and sustainable development without science, technology and innovation.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng visited the council as part of his working tour of agencies under his ministry to familiarise himself with their operations and challenges and begin a discourse on how to improve their operations.

He said considering the role of science, technology and innovation in national development, the CSIR would be a major stakeholder in the national development agenda.

Partnership

The CSIR was expected to play a key role in the implementation of the One District, One Factory and the One Village, One Dam promise by the government.

“The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has instructed that the old ways of doing things, where majority of the country’s produce were exported in their raw forms, has to be changed,” he said.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng explained that the instruction was to promote and enhance the industrialisation agenda of the government.

The minister acknowledged and commended the enormous contributions of the centre to both the private and public sectors, but was worried that the public did not know so much about what it had been doing over the years.

“A business development desk will, therefore, be created at the ministry to promote the commercialisation of the council’s researches and better link them to industry to enhance your operations,” he said.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the government was ready to give the Council all the necessary support to boost its operations, which is expected to result in the improvement of science and technology innovations for national development. 

CSIR

For his part, the Director- General of the CSIR, Dr Victor Kwame Agyeman, said the council was committed to partnering the government to implement policies on scientific research and development.

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By Kwabia Owusu-Mensah GNA

About 40 percent of arable lands in illegal mining areas has become polluted and unsuitable for food production, Dr. J. O. Fenning, Director of the Soil Research Institute (SRI), has announced.

He said the situation was even more disturbing in the Western Region, where 70 per cent of lands in mining (galamsey) communities cannot support food production.

He added that in excess of 18, 600,000 hectares of land in Ghana had been found to contain iron-pan (petroplinthite), which made it difficult for food and cash crops to produce the required yield.

He made this known, when the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, toured the Institute, in Kumasi.

The Minister has been visiting Institutes under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in the Ashanti Region, to acquaint himself with their operations and the challenges.

Dr. Fenning pointed out that the soil played important role in food production and therefore the need to identify soil types suitable for the growth and production of each food or cash crop, to derive maximum per hectare yield.

It was also important to identify the kind of fertilizer suitable for each soil.

He said the inability of farmers and investors to do this was a contributory factor to the low crop yield.

He spoke of the need to increase fertilizer application in the country from the current eight kilograms per hectare, which, he said was too low, to boost crop yield and food security.

He hinted of the development of a number of technologies including “biochar” and “sawah” by the SRI to improve soil condition and fertility.

Prof Frimpong Boateng made a strong case for the utilization of scientific knowledge, technologies and innovations, to drive the nation’s development.

He pledged the government’s resolve to ensure optimal use of technologies developed by scientists in the CSIR institutes.

Source: GNA

Some traders have resorted to preserving ‘koobi’, dried tilapia, with cancer-causing agent, formalin.

Formalin, which is a chemical used to prevent dead bodies from decomposing, is being used by the traders to preserve the fish; thus making it stiff, have a rubbery feel, clear eyes, red gills and take away its odour as well as drive away flies.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, made this known during a working visit to the Food Research Institute (FRI) and the Industrial Research Institute (IRR) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Friday.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng therefore cautioned those involved in the act to desist from it since it was dangerous to human health.

“Hitherto, opening the gills of koobi exposed salt placed there. Koobi was a little softer and when you put it somewhere flies will be attracted to it. These days you put koobi there and even flies will not go there.”

“So we want the few people who are destroying that industry to stop. Don’t preserve koobi with formalin, it is dangerous, it can cause cancer and it is dangerous everywhere,” he said.

“Tell the traders to stop using formalin but instead use salt to preserve koobi”, Prof Frimpong-Boateng added.

What is formalin

Formalin is a colourless strong-smelling chemical substance usually used in industry of textiles, plastics, papers, paint, construction, and well known to preserve human corpse.

It is derived from formaldehyde gas dissolved in water, post on the site of the BIMC Hospital Nusa Dua, the first hospital in Indonesia with accreditation from Australian Council on Healthcare Standard International (ACHSI), has explained.

Exposure from its gas or vapour could cause irritation to the eyes, nose and respiratory tract, causing sneezing, sore throat, larynx constriction, bronchitis and pneumonia. Multiple exposures can lead to asthma. It can also affect the skin, causing dermatitis or allergic reaction.

Visit to CSIR

Prof Frimpong-Boateng’s visit to the Food Research Institute (FRI) and the Industrial Research Institute (IRR) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was part of his familiarisation tour to various research institutions under CSIR who play strategic role in developing scientific research that would feed industry and propel economic growth.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng together with Dr Victor Agyeman, Director-General of CSIR interacted with the staff of the two institutes and urged them to work hard and come out with scientific research programmes that would help boost industry, agriculture and education.

The Minister assured the staff of government’s commitment to resource the research centres with funds as it prepared to increase research fund from 0.2 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

He also commended staff at the Food Research Institute for the various products they had come up with but urged them to work to link up with industry to take up the innovation and sell them.

He however expressed regret at the level of deterioration at the Institute of Industrial Research despite the fact that there were scientists ready to work but were faced with obsolete equipment and tools.

“I think we as a people have failed the CSIR, which was created to play a critical role in building the economy “the Minister noted.

By Kwabia Owusu-Mensah GNA

Kumasi, Mar 08, GNA – About 40 percent of arable lands in illegal mining areas has become polluted and unsuitable for food production, Dr. J. O. Fenning, Director of the Soil Research Institute (SRI), has announced.

He said the situation was even more disturbing in the Western Region, where 70 per cent of lands in mining (galamsey) communities cannot support food production.

He added that in excess of 18, 600,000 hectares of land in Ghana had been found to contain iron-pan (petroplinthite), which made it difficult for food and cash crops to produce the required yield.

He made this known, when the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, toured the Institute, in Kumasi.

The Minister has been visiting Institutes under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in the Ashanti Region, to acquaint himself with their operations and the challenges.

Dr. Fenning pointed out that the soil played important role in food production and therefore the need to identify soil types suitable for the growth and production of each food or cash crop, to derive maximum per hectare yield.

It was also important to identify the kind of fertilizer suitable for each soil.

He said the inability of farmers and investors to do this was a contributory factor to the low crop yield.

He spoke of the need to increase fertilizer application in the country from the current eight kilograms per hectare, which, he said was too low, to boost crop yield and food security.

He hinted of the development of a number of technologies including “biochar” and “sawah” by the SRI to improve soil condition and fertility.

Prof Frimpong Boateng made a strong case for the utilization of scientific knowledge, technologies and innovations, to drive the nation’s development.

He pledged the government’s resolve to ensure optimal use of technologies developed by scientists in the CSIR institutes.

Source: GNA

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