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General News Sat, 31 Jul 2010

Initiative to add value to cassava production launched

Bredi (B/A), July 31, GNA - An integrated pest management and farm gate processing training programme to help raise cassava production in the country, has been launched for farmers in Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and the Central regions.

The goal is to assist fight rural poverty, create employment and achieve national food security.

As part of the programme, a four-day workshop on product development and standard compliance for cassava processors and women in agriculture development drawn from 13 selected districts in the three regions, had been held at Bredi near Duayaw-Nkwanta.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided the funding with support from the root and tuber improvement marketing programme of the Food and Agriculture Ministry and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Ms Angela Osei-Sarfoh, National Coordinator, Unleashing the Power of Cassava (UPOCA), said it was important to adequately equip cassava processors to add value to the food crop.

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She said they needed to ensure good management practices in the supply chain, properly label their products, and make the packaging attractive.

Additionally, she said, they must develop better understanding of food standards and regulations in order to penetrate the international market.

Ms Osei-Sarfo said to export 93gari" for example it must meet the required standards pertaining to moisture content, crispness and colour.

She said the UPOCA project, funded by USAID, was working tirelessly to ensure enough supply of cassava products at affordable prices through availability of improved cassava varieties, upgrading of production and farm gate processing.

Ms Esther Okwaah Akomaning, a resource person, urged farmers to adopt improved farming technologies to boost crop yield and returns.

Source: GNA
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