Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama has advocated the use of roots and tubers to alleviate poverty and end food insecurity in the rural Africa.
Mahama who was represented by Ghana Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology Innovation, Mohammed Alfa, gave the charge at the 12th symposium organized by the International Society for Tropical Root Crops-Africa Branch (ISTRC-AB) in Accra, Ghana and stressed that root and tuber crops such as sweet potato, cassava, potato(Irish) Andean roots and tubers, yams and aroids provide great opportunities for long term poverty alleviation and food security, more than any staple food produced in the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions.
NaijaAgroNet learnt from the President that the growth rate of the population in Sub-Sahara Africa which was put at 2.4 per cent as compared to 1.3 per cent in non African countries had brought pressure on farmers to produce food at affordable prices.
He explained that even though root crops were vital for both food security and income generation, especially, for poor rural farmers and women, and often grown on marginal lands, production was mainly for home consumption and the local market.
NaijaAgroNet noted the submission of President Mahama when he said that efforts by the private sector to commercialise these crops had been minimal and ineffective and added that “the challenge had been how to commercialise and improve the competiveness of root and tuber crop products in the markets, whilst safeguarding the interest of women and small-holder farmers who derived significant incomes through the production and processing of thes,e crops.
The ISTRC-AB President, Dr Nzola Mahungu, who is also the Country Representative for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in DR Congo said, “Root and tuber crops play an important role in ensuring food security in Africa, and we must tap the opportunities of these crops.”
pix:Ghana President, John Dramani Mahama