The Crop Research Institute (CRI) under the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has introduced three new improved varieties of cassava seeds this year for farmers to support planting for food and jobs programme.
The new improved plants are purposely meant for production of highly industrial starch and for consumption and would be released to farmers for planting in July this year.
Professor Joe Manu Aduening, Deputy Director of Crop Research Institute and Crop Breeder made this known at a day’s sensitisation programme against cassava brown virus streak at Awutu Beraku.
The farmers were drawn from Agona West, Gomoa East, Effutu Municipality, Awutu Senya East and Awutu Senya districts.
It was organised by the West Africa Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) of Ghana and sponsored by Bill Gates in the United State of America.
Prof Aduening said the move by the Crop Research Centre was given a boost for the Planting for food and Job programme instituted by the government to improve the agricultural sector.
He said the introduction of the new improved cassava seeds would receive final certification by National Variety committee, who would give final approval and certify to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).
According to Prof Aduening the committee after certifying the seeds, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture would release and distribute to cassava farmers.
He said the new improved variety cassava could yield more production and earn more money for farmers, adding that it is a good step to create enabling the environment to reduce poverty among farmers.
Prof Aduening called on the District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies to support the publicity of planting for food and jobs programme to ensure its success.
He called on the government to create a ready market for cassava production to encourage more especially the youth to go into farming to reduce rural-urban drift.
The Deputy Director of Crop Research Institute urged private institutions, financial and corporate bodies to support Planting for food and jobs aimed at increasing food production and creating wealth.
Dr Allen Oppong, Research Scientist of Crop Research Institute of the centre for Scientific and Industrial research said the sensitisation programme was to educate farmers about the cassava brown virus streak diseases which affected cultivation of cassava.
He said it would also avert danger of the diseases facing cassava farmers that affected production, adding that farmers be sensitised to reduce infection of cassava.
Dr Oppong who is also Programme Coordinator of West Africa Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) in Ghana said the disease that affected cassava production was reported in other countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, DR Congo, Uganda , Nigeria , Togo and Benin hence the need to create awareness for Ghanaian farmers to curb it.
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