Zambia solicits Ghana’s assistance in Gari processing

By
Lydia Kukua Asamoah, GNA

Accra, Sept 28, GNA – A
Zambian trade delegation is in Ghana to learn about the gari processing sector
and the entire cassava value-chain production to replicate it in their country.

Learning about gari
processing from Ghana, would also enable the Zambian government to introduce
the gari meal as part of the menu for children of the School Feeding Programme
in that country.

Mr Charles Mulombwa,
Value Chain Development Specialist of the Citizens Economic Empowerment
Commission in Zambia who was part of the seven-member delegation on a 10-day
trade mission in Ghana, disclosed this to the GNA on the side-line of a visit
to the Food Research Institute (FRI) of the Council for Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR) in Accra.

He said the Zambian
Government was piloting gari processing among 500 women-groups in Zambia and
will later scale up production to all the country.

Gari is a cassava
root, dried and grounded into flour and used to prepare meals that serve as a
cheaper carbohydrate source for most people in Sub-Sahara Africa.

It is a creamy-white
granular flour with slightly fermented flavour and sour slightly taste made
from fermented, gelatinized fresh cassava tubers that are washed, peeled,
mashed, fermented and fried to produce the coarse-grained product.

Ms Kayula Siame,
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Republic
of Zambia, who is leading the Zambian delegation, paid a working visit to
the FRI to interact with the scientists and learn how the Institute was
helping to develop Ghana’s cassava production sector.

Ms Siame described the
visit to Ghana as very important to her country, offering the delegation, the
opportunity to interact and learn better experiences in Ghana’s
industrialisation processes.

She said the trade
delegation programme, fall within a project being run under Zambia’s Ministry
of Commerce, Trade and Industry, which was hosting a skill development and
entrepreneurship project under its Citizens Empowerment Commission for the
women and the youth in Zambia.

“This project has in
it, a very key aspect which relates to the commercialisation of cassava as well
as supporting SMEs and developing industry.

“So we are here in
Ghana to learn some of the lessons that we can get from the country in terms of
how you have commercialise cassava, how you have supported SMES, and how it has
helped the country in contributing to food security” Ms Siame said. 

She explained that the
delegation was visiting a number of institutions, agencies and government
Ministries that were in one way, or the other, linked with the
commercialisation of the cassava value chain.

She said her team
would be very glad to learn from the research institutions like the FRI and to
learn about cassava industrialisation and other supporting tools that were
required to make cassava a commercial crop in Zambia.

Professor Mrs Mary
Obodai, Director of Food Research Institute, commended the delegation for
coming down to Ghana to learn about the way science was being used to promote
cassava production that had become the staple food for more than 200 million
people in Africa.

She said Ghana was
fortunate to have a long science tradition, which was best represented by the
history of CSIR and its 13 institutes that continued to contribute to the
scientific and technological advancement of the nation and beyond.

She expressed FRI’s
readiness to assist Zambia to improve on their cassava stock and commercialise
it as well.

Mr Gregory Afra
Komlaga, Senior Research Scientist of CSIR-FRI, in a presentation on cassava
production in Ghana, said Ghana was ranked number 17th in global cassava
production, producing 17 million tonnes annually, and contributing 22 per cent
to GDP.

Neighbouring Nigeria
is ranked first on the global ladder, producing about 60 million tonnes of
cassava yearly.

He said cassava was a
very important crop in Sub-Sahara Africa and that every home in Ghana consumes
cassava at least once every week.

He said Ghana through
some national programmes, have developed most of its cassava as sweet varieties
that were cultivated for domestic uses, including fufu, banku, gari, ampesi
(cooked cassava) and kokonte; as well as other yields that were cultivated for
commercial uses.

He said FRI through
the support of some universities and other sister research institutes, was able
to develop technologies for processing cassava into industry products, and have
encouraged industries in Ghana to take up the technologies like high quality
cassava flour, that were used to do pastry products, and for the brewery
industry, and in the plywood industry.

He urged the
delegation to take opportunity of the knowledge available in Ghana, and get
their people trained so they could improve on the cassava value-chain in
Zambia, as being done in Ghana.

GNA

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