Focus on the root and tuber crops production – Prof Akromah
Professor Richard Akromah, Provost of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has called for increased support for root and tuber crops production.
He said more should be done to provide technical expertise and financial assistance to small-holder farmers to boost crop yield.
Prof Akromah was speaking at a stakeholder workshop on root and tuber production organized jointly by the University and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) in Kumasi.
It provided the platform to share ideas and expertise on new breed technologies and in attendance were research scientists, agriculturists, farmers, food processors and marketers.
Prof Akromah encouraged the international community to aid research into new technologies and the development of improved crop varieties to substantially raise production levels.
About 55 per cent of the nation’s small-holder farmers are engaged in the production of root and tubers and it is only appropriate to help them to optimize production.
He noted that most households consume root and tuber crops and said there was the need to add to their nutritional value.
Dr. Arne Wangle, a representative of DANIDA, said declining soil fertility, high labour cost in harvesting, pests and diseases infestation, limited access to planting materials and credit facilities, affecting increased production of the root and tubers must be tackled.
She also spoke of high transportation cost resulting in most crops perishing, rising labour cost in processing and the use of obsolete farming practices and said these had not been helpful in increasing productivity.
She said the goal was to strengthen the DANIDA –KNUST Root and Tuber Chain Project, to maximize production through cost-effective and efficient farming practices.