What you need to know:
- Since agriculture is the backbone of our country’s economy, it goes without saying that the real aim of increasing investment in science education is to come up with high yielding agricultural technologies and innovations
We should all now be aware of the government’s big desire to promote science education in our schools. Science teachers have been promised superior remuneration in the next financial year and all government employees engaged in scientific work are expecting higher salaries in the years to come. This should be a clear demonstration that our policy makers are seeking to kick-start a process by which science, innovation, and technology, can be used to bring about overall economic transformation of our country’s economy whose mainstay is agriculture.
For decades our farmers have been using conventional techniques that have long been discarded in other parts of the world despite the many challenges that have emerged such as climate change, a fast growing population to feed, and new pests and crop diseases that stifle agricultural production. Since agriculture is the backbone of our country’s economy, it goes without saying that the real aim of increasing investment in science education is to come up with high yielding agricultural technologies and innovations.
Science must be used to find solutions to our low agricultural production problems. Science and technology must be used to overcome the crop diseases and the harsh climatic conditions that frustrate our country’s agricultural growth.
Science must also be used to get solutions to under nutrition which is a big health problem in the country. Agricultural research must be supported and policy makers should be ready to accept and to enforce adoption of positive research findings for us to benefit from our huge investment in science education. For example if our agricultural research institutions come up with a solution to dangerous crop diseases such as Cassava Brown Streak Disease, Banana Bacterial Wilt, groundnut rosette disease and others, the policy makers should encourage the farmers to take advantage of the research findings to curb the damage caused by the diseases to agricultural production.
Otherwise what would be the purpose of all the effort and the investment in science if good research results are obtained and they remain shelved and locked up in research stations?
Some effort should also be made to sensitise farmers and agricultural extension staff about any new scientific discoveries in farming so that they easily embrace new and modern farming technologies.
Mr Michael Ssali is a veteran journalist,