Business News of 2014-02-27

CRI introduces new cocoyam varieties, recipes

The Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has come up with three new improved cocoyam varieties which are disease resistant and high yielding.

They are “Gye me di” (a purple variety which matures in eight months), “Akyedie” (a purple variety which matures in seven months) and “Mayeyie” (a white variety which matures in six months).

Farmers who recently cultivated the new varieties recorded increased yields after harvest.

Now that yield is set to increase, there is the need for utilisation to prevent the produce from storage and marketing problems. The CRI has, therefore, come up with four new cocoyam recipes which when accepted nationwide, could broaden the utilisation of cocoyam in the country.

New Recipes

The recipes are cocoyam fritters, stuffed cocoyam leaves, cocoyam fish and roast stuffed cocoyam.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic at Kukuom in the Asunafo District in the Brong Ahafo Region, Mr Emmanuel Lanor Omenyo said until the introduction of the new recipes, the use of cocoyam was restricted to preparing a few traditional dishes.

Mr Omenyo said the new cocoyam meals had been fortified with protein and other important nutrients to improve the nutritional needs of consumers.

Meanwhile, the CRI has begun introducing the new recipes to farmers and food vendors in some parts of the country to make for the massive usage of cocoyam.

Cocoyam Project

The cocoyam project is part of the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP), which is a World Bank-sponsored project.

The first phase of the project, which started in 2007, involved researching into new variety of crops for high yield (breeding), developing packages such as fertilisers, weed control, planting in roles, pest management (agronomy), proper management of harvested products and adding value to products (post-harvest) and the cost benefit measures project (socio-economic) programmes.

The second phase of the project, which spans 2013 to 2018, involves the dissemination of the technology developed during the first phase of the project.

Mr Omenyo said as part of activities to help promote the acceptance and usage of cocoyam, the CRI organised a cocoyam cooking competition for the Anwiam, Adomako, Dantano and Kukuom communities in the Asunafo District, to make the people aware of the essence of the cocoyam project.

A food scientist at the CSIR-CRI, Mr Michael Akuamoah-Boateng, said everything was being done to improve varieties of crops in the country to help improve yield, as well as to improve upon the income of farmers.

He called for collaboration with the various stakeholders in the various communities to better the production of crops in the country for both local consumption and for the international market.

Mr Akuamoah-Boateng said the new recipes would soon be introduced into the national school feeding programme to enrich nutrition for the schoolchildren.

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