Kumasi — The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-FORIG), has trained 400 people in a livelihood empowerment project to promote their economic welfare and livelihoods.
They were trained in snail farming, bee keeping and mushroom cultivation and according to the Director of the CSIR-FORIG, Prof. Daniel Aniagyei Ofori, they had been introduced to the best techniques such that they would not need huge funds to set up the businesses.
He said with the recent policy on the country's one district one factory agenda by the government to promote economic welfare and livelihoods of the urban poor and rural communities there was the need to widen the dissemination of mushroom and snail rearing technologies to other parts of the country
The Director observed that snails are seasonal creatures and the only way to ensure sustainable all-year round supply is through rearing, stressing that interest in its rearing and production for domestic consumption and export has increased considerably and "the technology for doing so is well developed".
He was speaking at their annual review and planning under the theme, 'Bridging the gap between research and the end user-Linking science and discovery to science and delivery'.
Prof Ofori indicated that Ghana exports at least 1700 kilograms of snails to countries such as the Netherlands and United States and CSIR-FORIG offers professional advice to prospective farmers to enable them increase production for the local and international markets.
Research, he said, had been conducted to maximise production of both exotic and indigenous edible mushrooms using appropriate substrate from agro forestry waste.
The Director said the institute is poised to enable the average Ghanaian embrace and appreciate what science can do to turn round their fortunes by breaking down complex research languages "to make science findings accessible to the public".
He noted a lot of research had been done but they remained on the shelves not because they are not relevant but that they appeared complex.
On employment, Prof. Ofori bemoaned the aging workforce of the institute and the fact that government has failed to lift the ban on employment, saying that, "Currently we are relying on the national service personnel and NABCO staff to support the professionals, even though the latter easily turn in their resignation letters whenever they find other opportunities much to the detriment of the institute".
On this, he said, the institute has plans to simplify researches into flyers and communicating the relevance in everyday language.
The institute, he said, would not relegate to the background its core values but would enforce them to the benefit of all and sundry in Ghana and urged the scientists and other staff to be more creative and network with other partners saying, "Our dream is to develop capacities and partnerships, because the knowledge we produce enables governments, partners and boundary partners to make informed decision toward development".