Recent developments in agricultural research

After a decade of marginal growth in the 1990s, agricultural R&D spending in Ghana has more than doubled since 2002. In 2008, the country spent 352 billion cedis or 95 million dollars on agricultural R&D (both in 2005 constant prices). Although these high growth rates are certainly an indication that agricultural R&D is a priority of the national government, a closer look at the cost category composition reveals that the overall increase in agricultural R&D spending is largely due to an increase in salary costs. In 2008, salaries accounted for 83 percent of CSIR’s total expenditures, leaving only very limited room for actual research costs and much-needed capital investments. The Ghanaian government is fully aware of the challenges that the current CSIR cost structure poses. It has therefore issued a directive in 2009 to reduce the share of salary costs in CSIR’s budget to 40 percent. Although not yet implemented, this directive could have a serious negative impact on future CSIR spending and capacity levels, forcing many CSIR agencies to either reduce the number of staff on their payroll or to generate funding from other sources. Transition to greater internal income generation continues to be a major challenge, however. Despite the fact that commercialization targets for the CSIR were set more than a decade ago, only one of the nine CSIR agencies (OPRI) comes close to reaching these targets. Donor funding continues to play an important role in financing Ghanaian agricultural R&D.

Though Ghana’s overall agricultural R&D capacity levels have shown steady growth since the turn of the millennium, especially at CSIR and the higher education agencies, many agencies are faced with an aging pool of scientists and a concurrent ban on recruitment that limits new hires. These are issues that need to be urgently addressed if Ghana is to maintain its current agricultural R&D capacity levels and to prevent the numerous training efforts that have taken place over the past decade from being eroded.

Flaherty, Kathleen
Essegbey, George Owusu
Asare, Roland
Published date: 
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
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