Stakeholders in orange flesh sweet potatoes (OFSP) promotion met in Bolgatanga to deepen farmers’ interest in cultivation and utilization of the crop as a way of making it a choice crop for sustainable food security in Northern Ghana.
The review conference was organized by TRAX Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Bolgatanga, in collaboration with its donor partners, Self Help Africa (SHA), International Potato Center (CIP) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (SARI) with participants from Togo and Burkina Faso.
The conference attracted entrepreneurs in the OFSP value chain, who made pastries, food and drinks from the product, to schools, health workers and farmers.
Mr Vincent Subbey, who gave an overview of the project, said it had objectives to alleviate vitamin deficiency among young children, pregnant and lactating mothers.
He said the project was being promoted in northern Ghana through food based approaches to enhance food security in poor regions that had incidence of malnutrition among children.
Mr. Subbey said the project started in 2013 in the Upper East Region with 50 farmers at Pelungu in the Nabdam District, and was scaled up in the 2014 cropping season to benefit 100 more farmers in Yakorit in the Nabdam District, Kumbosco in Bolgatanga, and Bongo.
He indicated the review was part of deepening the cropping and utilization of the potato not only for income generation for men and women, but for schools and health institutions to increase interest in the crop and use it for supplementary feeding.
Mr Peter Ayorogo, Country Director of SHA in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, indicated that plans were in place to go into full scale production to cover more communities on sustainable bases.
To this end, the Country Director, said collaboration was ongoing with research organisations to support farmers in multiplication of the potato vines for distribution.
Mr Ayorogo expressed the hope that with enhanced collaboration and innovative food approach strategies, it would whip up national interest for more farmers to go into the venture.
He said TRAX was one of its first partners in the promotion of OFSP and hoped that funding in 2015 would be scaled up to enable SHA to build the organization’s capacity and funding base to be effective.
Stakeholders called for the need for more studies into the crop to increase its shelf life since they were easily infested by weevils and pests, as well as collaboration in market linkages for the finished products.
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