Statistics: 1 out of 5 children in Ghana is stunted

Statistics from the Ghana Health Service has shown that one out of five children in the country is stunted. The development is even severe in the Northern Region as 37% of children in the region are stunted due to the absence of protein in meals served them. This has been attributed to some myths that do not allow children from birth to age ten to eat eggs though they are readily available in homes in the region. As part of the efforts to drastically reduce malnutrition in children and to improve protein intake in Ghana, through the consumption of cereals, the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) in the Northern Region launched a technology to improve Soybean yields, which a good source of protein. The USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Laboratory Soybean Value Chain Research in collaboration with the programme implementers Catholic Relief Services, and its partners the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) and World Food Program (WFP), organized the 3rd Annual Ghana Soybean Kick-Off Event to showcase the latest Soybean varieties in Africa The Soyabean Events Kick-Off which brought together over 200 participants including processing firms, industrialists, farmers, and other Soybean value chain stakeholders and development partners was held in Tamale in the Northern Region. The Deputy Director and a research fellow at SARI, Dr Roger Kanton mentioned one disease that is hampering soyabeans production. “Stagal is the Aids in the soybean business in the region. It is the major challenge which reduces yield,” he noted. Dr Kanton also revealed that drought associated with climate change and reduction in soil fertility also have tolls on production. Lack of good variety of soyabeans and equipment for farming is rapidly affecting the interest of farmers in soyabean production, he remarked. He called for government’s intervention by way of funding for research in producing quality seeds for both existing agricultural programmes and new ones like the Planting for Food and Jobs. “The institute needs government intervention to enable us embark on research to produce quality seeds for the planting for food program of the government as we all know that science is the backbone of every nation, the government should invest more in research than paying salaries”. He also called for improvement in the sector for farmers to increase soyabean yields to meet the increasing demands and also curb malnutrition situation in Ghana. “There are a lot of people in three regions of the north who cannot afford animal protein being fish, meat and even egg is quite a problem, children and pregnant women in some communities are not allowed to eat meat or egg due to some myths and this affects their growth,” he revealed. The Soyabeans Innovation Technology with support of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture trained some women on how to make simple recipes from soyabeans to improve on protein quantity in dairies for children and nursing mothers. Participants also toured the soybean fields in SARI.

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By Zubaida Ismail |]]>