Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations Partners with Savanna Agricultural Research Institute to Support Smallholder Farmers in Ghana
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ST. LOUIS (June 14, 2023) — Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations (Gates Ag One) is partnering with the Ghana-based Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) to accelerate crop science that benefits smallholder farmers.
CSIR-SARI, one of 13 institutes of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), leads crop research and development in northern Ghana to enable smallholder farmers to sustainably increase production and improve soil fertility. CSIR-SARI has released dozens of varieties of improved crops, including maize, cowpea, soybean, rice and millet. Recently, the institute secured approval for the environmental release of a pod borer resistant (PBR) cowpea, developed to protect yields against the Maruca pod borer, which can cause losses of up to 80%.
“Our mission is to develop and introduce innovations that deliver better livelihoods for Ghana’s smallholder farmers through increased productivity,” said Dr. Francis Kusi, Director, CSIR-SARI. “With the support of Gates Ag One, we hope we can build on agricultural advances to date and accelerate this work.”
Almost half of Ghana’s labor force is employed in agriculture, which is primarily rainfed. However, the impact of climate change has contributed to a decline in rainfall over the past four decades as well as the increasing spread of crop pests.
“CSIR-SARI plays a key role in advancing crop innovations that serve smallholder farmers, not only in Ghana but across West Africa,” said Joe Cornelius, CEO of Gates Ag One. “We are excited to work with CSIR-SARI to further this work and ensure farmers in Ghana have the same chance to thrive as those elsewhere.”
Gates Ag One, a non-profit affiliate of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was created to leverage advances in global crop science to serve the growing needs of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The organization invests in early scientific discoveries to accelerate the development of improved crops that can close the yield gap.
About Gates Ag One:
Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations (Gates Ag One) is a non-profit organization that accelerates breakthrough agricultural research to meet the urgent and neglected needs of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Out of the conviction that all lives have equal value, Gates Ag One serves the interests of smallholder farmers, who are most exposed to climate shocks yet lack the access that others have to the latest agricultural innovations. Gates Ag One works to level the playing field and empower smallholder farmers to transform their agricultural productivity, nutrition security and climate resilience. Learn more at gatesagone.org.