CSIR to support gov’t agric and industrialisation initiatives

The Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is liaising with the government to identify some agricultural commodities that can be adopted under the One-District-One-Factory policy initiative. The policy implementation creates an environment for each local government area to harness its endowed resources to establish industries that provide jobs and create wealth. Director of the CRI-CSIR, Dr. Stella Ennin, who said this, has pointed to the potentials in cassava as an immediate crop that can be exploited under the initiative. “One of the crops that tops is cassava starch production, and we have varieties that have high starch content of about 34 percent on weight basis and also resistant to the major diseases of cassava which we are working with the government to make available for the one-district-one-factory policy,” she said. Research activities from public institutions have resulted in the release of high yielding cassava varieties to raise production levels. Ghana produces about 16million metric tonnes of cassava and incomes from production and post-harvest processing of the commodity represent about 20 percent of the country’s GDP. Industrialization of cassava will therefore increase opportunities along the value chain. Both domestic and export markets will tap into value-added products such as ethanol from cassava, starch for the pharmaceutical industry, high quality cassava flour and starch for breweries, and composite flour for the bakery and confessionary industries. Dr. Ennin says participating in the government’s One-District-One-Factory as well as the Planting for Food and Jobs programmes is to push for the commercialization and dissemination of agricultural research products. The CRI has released new varieties of rice and sweet potato to support the planting for food and jobs programme. The researchers also supply seed growers with varieties of maize, soyabean and pepper to be able to produce and supply farmers with certified seeds. Dr. Ennin believes crops like sweet potato and caning bean have the potential to increase incomes of farmers whilst addressing the nutritional and hidden hunger issues in Ghana. Sweet potato farmers, for instance, can get a good yield of about 30 tonnes per hectare within four months and farmers can plant twice a year. Other benefits include use of the vine for animal feed, planting material and soil improvement. “We believe that production will double by adhering to the production practices that go with them,” she said. The Crops Research Institute is among research facilities under the CSIR, the foremost national science and technology institution in Ghana. The CRI has a broad research mandate covering all food and industrial crops.

READ ALSO:  Ameri deal: I'm ready to cooperate...but should be humane - Jinapor
By Kofi Adu Domfeh|3news.com|Ghana]]>