Ghana has successfully established an online database on indigenous knowledge on forest foods and medicinal plants.
This is not only meant to help to prevent the appropriation of local knowledge for private gain but serve as the ‘first port of call” for any research activity in that area.
It was developed by the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) under a research project to identify, capture, document and digitize indigenous knowledge on forest foods and medicinal plants in the country.
Elsevier Foundation of Amsterdam, Netherlands, provided the funding.
A sensitization workshop to brief members of the academia and scientific community on the project and to seek their support was on Tuesday held in Fumesua in the Ejisu-Juaben municipality.
Mrs. Margaret Sraku-Lartey, the Project Leader, said indigenous knowledge as a resource was being used by many developed countries to fuel multi-million dollar genetics supply industries, ranging from food and pharmaceuticals, chemical products and energy to other manufactured products.
In Ghana, however, not much attention had been paid to this vital resource for business development, despite its enormous potential, she added.
“There is hardly any system for recording, documenting and preserving indigenous knowledge, let alone a mechanism for capturing it to cope with dynamic world needs.”
Mrs. Sraku-Lartey said the nation stood to tremendously benefit from the project, adding that, it could become a catalyst for rural development.
She spoke of the need to have a policy on indigenous knowledge in the areas of agriculture, health, arts and craft, music and the entertainment to promote national development.
Dr. Daniel Ofori, Director of FORIG, said indigenous knowledge tended to be locked up within individuals in communities, something, which made it difficult to transfer useful knowledge and information on plant products for the benefit of the wider society.
He said it was important to link traditional knowledge with modern science for the general good.\
He called for effective collaboration and stronger partnerships to promote the sustainability of useful forest foods and medicinal plants.