The FAO in Ghana has procured five desktop computers costing GH¢7700 to support the National Information Sharing Mechanism (NISM), under the global plan of action which provides a framework for the conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. The beneficiaries of the computers are New Juabeng Municipal Directorate of Food and Agriculture, Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute (PGRRI), Crop Science Department, Legon, Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (SARI), and Environmental Development Youth Movement (EDYM), a civil society organization.
The National Information Sharing Mechanism was established in Ghana in 2003 with funding from Norway, under the FAO Multi-Donor Partnership Programme to establish a country-driven network for sharing information on activities related to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and improving coordination and partnership among and within countries. The NISM is also tasked to enhance conservation and use of plant genetic resources for sustainable agricultural development in the region. The sustainable conservation and use of plant genetic resources (PGR) is important to ensuring global food security and contributing to achieving the target set by the World Food Submit to reduce the number of people in extreme poverty by half by the year 2015.
Some activities implemented by the National Focal Team under the twenty priority areas of the global plan of action in collaboration with researchers, agricultural extension officers, farmers and civil society include the following:
- Surveying and inventorying plant genetic resources for food and agriculture
- Supporting on farm management and improvement of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture
- Promoting in-situ and ex-situ conservation of wild crop relatives and wild plants for food production
- Promoting sustainable agriculture through diversification of crop production and broader diversity crops
- Promoting development and commercialization of under-utilized crops and species
- Developing monitoring and early warning systems for loss of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture
- Expanding and improving education and training
- Promoting public awareness of the value of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture conservation and use.
The activities of the NISM are closely linked with and contribute to FAO’s global efforts to support the implementation, monitoring and updating the global plan of action and the preparation of the State of the World’s Plant Genetics Resources for Food and Agriculture. The provision of the computers will therefore facilitate the documentation and dissemination of plant genetic resources information among the network in Ghana and internationally. The accumulated plant genetic diversity serves as a source of valuable traits needed for meeting challenges of the future, such as adapting crops to changing climatic conditions and outbreaks of disease.