The Department of Chemistry of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in collaboration with the Rothamsted Research, United Kingdom and the International Institute of Tropical and Agriculture, Benin has organised a Workshop on ‘The Chemical Sciences, Chemical Ecology and the Economic Development of Ghana’. The workshop, held at International Centre for Innovative Learning (ICIL), KNUST was to deliberate on how all stakeholders can come together to find solutions to pest management in order to help achieve sustainable agriculture and food security.
Dr. Nathaniel Boadi, the Head, Department of Chemistry in his welcome address stated that, the theme underscores the need for collaborative research between the chemical sciences and chemical ecology; and the potential for chemical ecology to develop Ghana’s economy. According to him, in the era where the Government has introduced ‘Planting for food and jobs’ programme, the introduction of chemical ecology in the agricultural sector can play a major role in the success of the programme’.
In his contribution on the theme, he observed that food security and climate change have become matters of global concern. This, he said is because climate change causes the invasion of agricultural and other pests which do not originate from the countries they invade. Dr. Boadi further cited the fall armyworms in Ghana in 2017, which destroyed crops and caused huge losses in farmers’ investments and the country as a whole.
He noted that chemical ecology can help in pest management and control farm pests and diseases in a way that does not affect ecosystem services and human health. The Conference, he therefore said, is in line with national development plan which emphasises science, technology and innovation as the drivers towards that vision.
Dr. Samuel Osafo Acquaah, a Lead Scientist for the Chemical Ecology group in an exclusive interview stated that the participants would learn and apply new technologies to pest management at the Conference. He finally advocated for government’s funding of the project to fight against pest infection.
The Conference, hosted by Chemical Ecology Group is a multidisciplinary one that targeted farmers, economists, chemists, researchers, and Government officials. Other participants included both Undergraduate and Postgraduate students, lecturers, and the media. The papers presented by Mr. Jonathan Osei Owusu, Dr. Michael Birkett, and Dr. Jozsef Vuts, a Chemical Ecologist, were on the themes: Investigating cowpea, defence and Pest Management, Developing smarter solutions for ensuring crop and animal health based on Chemical Ecology, and Methods used in Chemical Ecology respectively.