Invest in root and tuber crops research – Dr Ennin

Cassava - a staple food in Ghana

A Research Scientist has acknowledged the crucial role root and tuber crops played in enhancing the livelihood of the people and called for more to be done to increase production.

Dr Stella Ama Ennin, Deputy Director of the Crops Research Institute (CRI), of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), stated that, currently root and tuber crops contribute about 50 per cent of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

It was therefore appropriate that the nation invested more in research, technology development and transfer to help come out with improved varieties and value addition for the benefit of the nation.

“It is indeed sad that very little value addition had been done on root and tuber crops in Ghana, apart from the traditional ‘gari’,” Dr Ennin said.

She said it would be more difficult for the nation to achieve food security for all by 2020 if the situation does not improve.

She was speaking at a training workshop on the Dissemination of New Agricultural Technologies in Africa (DONATA) at Fumesua, near Kumasi.

The DONATA Project is being managed by the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) and in Ghana, the CRI is the implementing institute.

Participants at the two-day workshop included agricultural researchers and scientists, cassava farmers and processors.

The workshop is aimed at providing a platform for stakeholders in the cassava industry to explore various approaches for technology transfer and adoption, through a two-way flow of exchange of new ideas and shared experiences.

It is also expected to strengthen the capacity of the participants to efficiently facilitate the adoption of cassava technologies along the value chain.

Dr Ennin indicated that it was high time factors militating against the development of root and tuber crops, such as inefficient marketing, limited infrastructure and processing, drought, pests, as well as dissemination of new technologies, were addressed to enhance production.

In addition, efforts should be stepped up to discourage the increasing imports of such crops and motivate local producers to ensure food sufficiency.

Dr Sidi Sanyang, in-charge of Capacity Strengthening of CORAF, said Ghana was the latest entry into the DONATA project and urged stakeholders to play their various roles effectively to enhance its success.

Dr Alhassan Baba Salifu, Director-General of the CSIR, in a message delivered on his behalf, said the Council, through collaboration with various projects and programmes, had developed a number of improved technologies over the years to help farmers increase their productivity.

Source: GNA

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