A lecturer at the agriculture department of the University for Development Studies (UDS), Dr Francis Kwaku Amagloh has called for a presidential initiative for the cultivation of Orange-Flesh Sweet Potato (OFSP), in Ghana.
Dr Amagloo made the call when he presented the scientific aspect and nutritional value of OFSP at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) RING Press briefing in Tamale.
The forum which was to inform partners on the success chalked in RING operational districts and the scaling up of the project. The USAID-RING is collaborating with UDS, CIP, SARI and Farm Radio International and charged Ghana’s Food and Agriculture ministry to support their effort.
This initiative, he noted, will encourage the cultivation of the potato, boost its consumption, and ultimately go along way to strengthen the agric sector.
He noted that cultivation of orange flesh sweet potato, known in Dagbani as Alaafee Wulijo, is the best solution to address malnutrition and stunted growth among Ghanaian children. He explained that the “alaafee wulijo” contains vitamin A, and this can address vitamin A deficiency in Ghanaian children.
“My worry is about children because mothers keep on feeding their children with the cereal legume blend which was to improve the protein content of porridge given to children, unfortunately it has no vitamin A, and so we want to replace the maize with OFSP,” he stated.
The soil fertility in most of the project communities he added, is very poor but it is good enough to grow orange flesh sweet potato. Districts such as West Gonja is said to have recorded high yields last year.
Dr Amagloh said they are ready to help the government to cultivate orange flesh sweet potato to improve the levels of vitamin A in children under five years and their mothers.