The National Varietal Release and Registration Committee (NVRRC) of the Ministry of Agriculture has recommended five proposed varieties of cassava developed by the Department of Crop Science in collaboration with the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agricultural Research Institute (BNARI) of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission(GAEC).
The five recommended varieties are resistant to mosaic disease which mostly affects cassava production in Ghana and also contain beta carotine - a precursor of Vitamin A.
The recommendation was made after members of the committee inspected the five proposed cassava varieties at the University Teaching and Research Farm.
Five Proposed Varieties
The Dean of the School of Agriculture, Professor Elvis Asare-Bediako, explained that the five proposed varieties included three yellow and two white fleshed cassava. He noted that the yellow fleshed cassava were rich in vitamin A. He stated that " consumption of cassava in Ghana is very high, especially among our rural folks. Vitamin A deficiency is a major problem so the yellow fleshed cassava is a cheap source of this nutrient"
Prof. Asare-Bediako who is the lead researcher indicated that the proposed cassava varieties when released unto the Ghanaian market would lead to improved yield and increased in farmers income levels. In addition, he said the proposed varieties would help provide basic nutrients to its consumers.
On his part, a Senior Research Scientist from BNARI, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. Godwin Amenokpe, said the genetical composition of the the proposed cassava had the eficacy to minimise the spread of night blindness among Ghanaians.
Cassava for Food and Industrial Applications
Dr. Paul Agu Asare, of the School of Agriculture, who is member of the research team that developed the proposed varieties noted that most Ghanaians and people from other parts of West Africa relied solely on cassava not only for food but for industrial applications. "Cassava stands as a key for poverty alleviation and food security and the crop can thrive everywhere and give substantial yield " he added. Dr. Asare said the five proposed varieties were distinct and could be used to prepare gari, ampesi, fufu among others.
After inspecting the crops on the field and assessing the presentations on each of the proposed variety, the leader of NVRRC, Professor Richard Akromah, said the five crops have been recommended for release considering their substantial benefit to the nation and the agriculture sector.
Five Proposed Varieties to Boost Enhance Food Security
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor George K.T. Oduro, said he was excited that the Department of Crop Science had come out with the proposed varieties to boost food security and also contribute to the well-being of Ghanaians. He congratulated the team on the innovation and added that the University had a role to play in ensuring the consumption of the discovered cassava as well as the dissemination of the success of the project.
Date of Event: November 16, 2018