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The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa was among the recipients of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Awards, during a ceremony to honour scientists, champions of science and research and  industry players who have made outstanding contributions to Ghana’s scientific and industrial development over the past 60 years. Held on Friday, 17th May 2019 at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Accra, the event was one of the activities organised to mark the 60th anniversary of the CSIR. It was graced by, among others, Mr. Yaw Osafo Marfo, Senior Minister who was the special guest of honour; Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Honourable Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; and Professor Robert Kingsford-Adaboh, the Chairman of CSIR’s Governing Council.

FARA’s award was received by Dr. Aggrey Agumya, Director for Stakeholder Engagement and Communication on behalf of the Executive Director, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo.

Based on a realisation that any line of work that is impactful requires discipline and a positive change in behaviour, David Asiamah founded Agro Mindset, a firm that specialises in agribusiness ventures in Ghana.

Agro Mindset’s focus is to run highly profitable agricultural enterprises with long-term growth potential. It further aims to be a leader of robust agribusiness models that consistently produces safe, quality and affordable foodstuffs in a financially, socially and environmentally sustainable manner. Recently, Agro Mindset formed a partnership with EvancoPhamlands to grow coconuts, mangoes and other cash crops for local consumption and for export.

When he was 11, Oscar Ekponimo was so hungry he would stare at the kitchen cupboards in his home in Calabar, Nigeria, wishing they would magically fill with food. His father had stopped working after a partial stroke, and his mother earned so little as a nurse that he and his siblings ate just one substantial meal every two days. “My mom used to remind us that the hunger was not forever,” he said. “That always kept me going.”

Now 30 and a skilled software engineer living in Abuja, Ekponimo is working to ensure others do not suffer as he did. He has developed an app called Chowberry, which connects grocery stores and supermarkets with NGOs and charities to put wasted or leftover food to use. As packaged food items near the end of their shelf life, the app initiates discounts that grow larger the longer the products remain unsold. Local aid groups and other selected nonprofits are alerted about these discounts and also when supermarkets are giving food away for free. Food that would otherwise have gone in the trash is instead distributed to orphanages and needy families.

I am John Atsu Agbolosoo, a Ghanaian student currently pursuing a Master of Science in Agri-Enterprise Development at Egerton University in Kenya under sponsorship from the TAGDev (Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development)Programme. TAGDev is a joint initiative of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and the Mastercard Foundation.

Soon after enrolling for my masters’ in 2017, I decided to start a pig business in Ghana because of my love for pigs. It has always been my dream to raise pigs in my community for high quality pork and sausages, and also offer consultancy services for pig farmers at a low cost. The other aim of starting the business was to reduce the high youth unemployment rate in my community which leads to crimes like armed robbery.

Mobile apps and ICT platforms have potential to transform farmers’ lives by vastly improving access to markets and the performance of the agricultural sector. However, there are several challenges that can limit the success of apps targeting smallholder farmers. Read more about the opinion of Ken Lohento, Senior ICT4Ag Programme Coordinator at CTA, on the viability of e-agri apps.

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