Business News of Saturday, 3 October 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Farmers urged to cultivate less known potato

Farmers have been encouraged to take up the production of orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP) because of its nutritional value and higher yield.

The rarely patronised tuber crop has a high nutritional value and helps to address Vitamin A deficiency in children under five.

Furthermore, OFSP provides more food per hectare than maize, cassava and yam and also has a shorter production cycle as well as lower soil fertility requirements.

The call, therefore, to improve nutrition and increase income earning opportunities for farmers.

The proposition was made at a forum dubbed “Orange Day” in Accra last Wednesday, held under the auspices of the Editors Forum Ghana (EFG) and Farm Radio International (FRI), a non-governmental organisations (NGO).
The forum was on the theme: “Fighting Vitamin A Deficiency with the Orange Flesh Sweet Potato.”

Speaking at the event, the Country Director of FRI, Mr Ben Fiafor, said “43 million children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from Vitamin A deficiency.

He said there was the need to embrace the production of OFSP, since it was a bi-fortified variety that could help improve the health needs of children and mothers.

For his part, an officer of the Crop Research Institute, Mr Kwadwo Adofo, said the OFSP had a high nutritional value, while its production was a business opportunity for farmers.

He stressed that the root tuber needed to be exploited and exported, to improve the living standards of farmers.

Farm Radio International (FRI) is an initiative to popularise the production and consumption of OFSP in some African countries, including Ghana.
The non-governmental organisation encourages local African farmers to adopt better agricultural methods through partnerships with more than 500 radio broadcasters.

The organisation has been fighting poverty and food insecurity since it was founded by Canadian journalist George Atkins in 1979.