World Food Programme (WFP), a United Nations’ Agency is collaborating with the Crops Research Institute (CRI)of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to solve vitamin ‘A’ deficiency in Ghana using vitamin ‘A’ yellow and orange maize varieties.
The maize varieties were developed by CRI in collaboration with the HarvestPlus Project.
The maize varieties developed under the project include Honampa, Ahocdzin, Ahocfe, Dzifoo and Abontem
The purpose for the development of the new maize varieties is to help reduce malnutrition and other micronutrient deficiencies in the country.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Atebubu in the Atebubu- Amantin Municipality, Dr. Manfred B. Ewool, Senior Research Scientist and Maize Breeder at CRI said the WFP had implemented a new project in Ghana named “Enhanced Nutrition and Value Chains” (ENVAC), a five-year project that would support the private sector in the agro- food processing value chain.
This, he added, was to enable beneficiaries to produce and make specialised nutritious food commodities available throughout the country.
He said several studies have been conducted by the CRI on consumer preferences and that indicated that the end users of the Vitamin ‘A’ yellow and orange maize varieties had accepted the varieties for food and other industrial uses.
Dr Ewool said vitamin ‘A’ deficiency was a major problem worldwide, attributing it to the fact that, most of the cereals and root crops consumed were low in vitamin ‘A’, which leads to serious health implications in humans especially pregnant women and children.
Dr. Ewool said so far, his outfit had been able to reach out to about 30 communities in 11 districts and municipalities in the Ashanti, Bono and Bono-East Regions of Ghana under the project.
He indicated some challenges facing the project to include land availability, lack of storage facilities, pests control, funding and marketing.
Dr Ewool assured the farmers that their challenges would be carried to the appropriate authorities for solutions and entreated farmers to also adopt the newly introduced varieties and plant them on large scales.