FAO promotes cassava cultivation in northern region

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has invested $1 million in cassava cultivation in parts of the Northern Region as part of its efforts to reduce poverty in the area.

The first phase of the initiative would end in December this year, and the amount would be increased in 2014 and 2015.

Mr Peter Anaadumba, Technical Co-ordinator of the FAO Office in Ghana, said this at a stakeholders workshop on regional initiative to reduce rural poverty in Africa in Accra yesterday.

He said cassava was selected for the programme because it was cultivated by a large number of farmers and had a multipurpose use with huge potential along the value chain.

The product, he added, could be consumed as food in various forms; used as animal feed, processed into industrial starch and even be used by the breweries by being turned into beer.

Mr Peter Anaadumba announced that the project would also help empower the farmers through their associations, improve small-holder productivity and access to markets and improve rural infrastructure and services.

In his address, the FAO Representative to Ghana, Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano, said his outfit, in collaboration with the government, had made several moves to promote decent rural employment in agriculture through rural agro-processing and provision of market for farmers.

He mentioned some of the interventions to include support to Papaya farmers in the Eastern, Central, Greater Accra and Volta regions who were affected by the new invasive Papaya mealy bug, which caused average yields losses, thereby posing a multi-million dollar threat to exportable papaya fruits and other agriculture products.

The support, he said, was also extended to guinea fowl production in Northern Ghana to revive livestock rearing, which used to be a major viable activity of the people.

He explained that 1650 farmers had so far benefited and were improving supply of Guinea fowl meat to the Ghanaian market and the hospitality industries.

Story: Donald Ato Dapatem

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