Give strong agricultural extension support to cassava farmers – Agronomist

CassavaDr. Joe Manu-Aduening, a Plant Breeder/Agronomist, has urged strong agricultural extension support for cassava farmers for optimal crop yield and returns.

Cassava, he indicated, was no longer a food crop planted by the smallholder farmer but an industrial raw material with high commercial value.

It is used not only for the production of industrial starch for the lumber and textile industries but alcoholic beverage by the brewery companies and chemicals by the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Manu-Aduening said it was against this background that it was vital they were assisted with the every information they needed by the extension agents and the Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

He was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a day’s workshop/farmers field day for cassava growers in Bechem in the Tano South District.

It was held under the West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) for Root and Tuber Crops Project, being implemented by the CRI with joint funding by the British Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

A total of 90 farmers drawn from six selected cassava growing areas – Ahafo North and South districts in Ashanti, and Asunafo North, Tano North, Tano South and Sunyani West in the Brong-Ahafo region.

The workshop provided the platform to educate and help them to identify the symptoms of various cassava diseases and what to do to prevent an outbreak.

The need to stick to disease-free (healthy) planting materials was also highlighted.

Dr. Manu-Aduening, who is also the Deputy Director of the CRI, said the Institute had so far released 24 cassava varieties, with varying yields and drying matter, from which the farmers could select.

They must, however, seek expert support and apply best production practices to maximize crop yield.

Dr. Allen Oppong, a Research Scientist at the CRI, called for farmers to remain on the alert and to report any sign of the Cassava Brown Streak Virus (CBSV) disease to the Food and Agriculture Ministry.

The disease has not yet being seen in the country but it has been described as “very dangerous” and has become endemic in East Africa.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.