CSRI-CRI to develop stakeholder capacity in sweetpotato production

The Director of the Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), at Fumesua in the Ashanti Region, Dr. Stella Ennin, has announced plans of her outfit to set up a Sweetpotato Resource Center, to build the capacity of stakeholders’ along the sweetpotato value-chain.

She explained that the setting up of the Center, which forms part of the vision of CRI for the sweetpotato crop, would serve to demonstrate best cropping and harvesting practices and offer training on effective peering for prolong storage of fresh roots.

She also said it would provide information and technical backstopping to the private sector on commercial processing at different scales of production and to also re-position the crop to raise it image and facilitate entrepreneurship in the sector.

Dr. Ennin however maintained that strong partnerships are needed for the realization of this vision, for which the CRI is committed to forging stronger partnerships and new ones with public and private sector along the sweetpotato value chain.

She also noted that increased financial support for sweetpotato research, and the development for the research development agenda of the CRI and the CSIR as a whole, is needed for the CRI to continue to play the leading role in the realization of Ghana’s agriculture vision.

She said these at the visit of the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan and his wife, Nane Annan, to her outfit at Fumesua, to discuss the potential for orange fleshed sweetpotato to improve the health of women and children in Ghana and enhance livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

She told participants at the gathering to welcome the Annan’s and the officials from the International Potato Center (CIP) that, the crop’s unique characteristics as a short duration early maturing crop relative to other roots and tuber crops and its high yields with minimum input and the potential for a year-round cultivation and multiple harvest, makes it a special food security crop.

Mr. Kofi Annan was optimistic that as the crop becomes more and more accepted as a major food security crop, farmers across the African continent would not only produce to consume on lower scale but produce enough for export.

The visit by Mr. and Mrs. Annan afforded the opportunity to discuss with CIP and others, on ways to harness the power of orange fleshed sweetpotato, which is rich in beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A that is critical to enhance children’s health and in reducing blindness.

Sweetpotato is also rich in other nutrients and carbohydrates vital for children under the age of five and lactating women.

It was expected that the discussions would lead to further development of sweeetpotato in Ghana so as to enable Ghanaians to benefit from this ‘superstar of biofortified crops.’

The discussions were led by the International Potato Center (CIP), which has had a presence in Ghana since 2009 and has set a goal of reaching nearly 500,000 households with resilient nutritious sweetpotato by 2020.

CIP began work in sub-Saharan Africa in the early 2000s promoting orange fleshed sweetpotato, providing quality and clean planting material, promoting good agricultural practices, and developing consumer demanded post-harvest products like biscuits and purees.

To date, CIP is said to have reached one million households and has a goal of reaching 15 million households by 2023.

It was disclosed that CIP would convene separately with its partners based upon the discussions to make a proposal to move forward with a sweetpotato as the centerpiece of a nutrition and health initiative.

Source: razkizito.blogspot.com
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