26/09/2007 (Kessben News) - Oil palm cultivators would no longer climb the trees when harvesting the fruits with the introduction of the "Malayan knife" at this year's celebration of Scientific Renaissance in Africa Day at Suhyen near Koforidua last Tuesday.
The use of the Malayan knife on large estates allows the oil palm trees to keep yielding for 25-40 years.
On farms where the Malayan knife is not used, especially on smallholder farms, the palm trees are hardly taller than six meters and are uprooted for palm wine as early as 12 years.
By so doing, they truncate the economic viability of the very venture that could significantly improve their livelihood. Prof Dominic Fobih, Minister for Education, Science and Sports, said in an address read on his behalf that the new technology had the potential of encouraging small holder farmers to expand the their farms and to keep their plantations for longer periods just as large estates. He appealed to the farmers to consider the benefits of adopting the technology for improved production and for the mitigation of occupational and environmental hazards.
Prof Fobih urged the agricultural extension officers to double their efforts at promoting the technology and other technologies among farmers so that they could realize their benefits.
"If Ghana is to realize all its goals towards attaining the much cherished middle income -status we must necessarily improve upon the technologies that we apply for our development".
Mr Ofosu Asamoah, Deputy Eastern Region Minister, said for the average Ghanaian farmer to earn a respectable livelihood from agriculture, there must be a paradigm shift to modernize the means of production, storage and marketing of produce.
The theme for celebrating the day was "Popularisation of Proven Technologies for increased Productivity"-The use of the Malayan knife for harvesting palm fruits on tall palm trees". The Organization of African Unity set the Day for Scientific Renaissance in Africa in 1987.
Every member state is to observe the day on June 30th every year to create awareness about the benefits of the application of science and technology to economic, cultural and social endeavours.