By Frederica Kyeremateng, GNA
Yendi, Aug. 02, GNA – The Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has organised a day's sensitisation programme for farmers in Yendi on the African Cassava Mosaic Virus.
The farmers were drawn from the Nanumba North, Nanumba South, Zabzugu Mion Districts and the Yendi Municipality.
Dr Allen Oppong, a research scientist at the Crops Research Institute of CSIR, said the sensitisation was part of the West African Virus Epidemiology for Roots and Tuber Crops Project, which was being sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development (DFID).
Dr Oppong said the African Cassava Mosaic Virus Disease, which affected the leaves of cassava plants, making them yellowish, distorted and stunted in growth also affected the yield of the crop and decreased its productivity.
He therefore advised farmers to plant the improved cassava varieties which were available at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in place of the local ones that were susceptible to the mosaic virus.
Dr Oppong said white flies found under the leaves of cassava plants and the use of infected planting materials propagated the disease.
He debunked the perception that cassava from a mosaic virus-infected plant affected the health of the consumer.
Professor Joe Aduening, a research scientist at the Crops Research Institute of CSIR, told the GNA that the cassava plant thrived where most plants would not thrive due to inadequate rainfall.
He advised farmers to go into cassava farming to get more income, since its products could be used for starch, ethanol, flour and ‘gari’ for export and local consumption.
He said research conducted by the CRI, Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Cape Coast revealed 26 improved varieties of cassava for different purposes, which were also edible.
Ms Benedicta Nsiah-Frimpong, an agricultural economist at the CRI of CSIR, advised farmers to plant the improved cassava varieties, and derive the economic benefits from them.
She said farmers faced marketing challenges such as exploitation by traders, inadequate market, lack of transportation and low pricing of farm produce; and advised to know customer needs, negotiate for proper standards by weight of goods and conduct preliminary research about the market.
Ms Nsiah-Frimpong advised farmers to take advantage of the Esoko software, which provides farmers with updates on prices of farm produce and agricultural tips.