Oct. 2, GNA – Ghanaians, especially children, must consume more of the Orange
Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) to improve their vitamin A status.
Mr Kwadwo Adofo, a sweet potato breeder of the Crop Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CRI-CSIR), who gave the advice, said the OFSP could play a significant role in controlling vitamin A deficiency in children, which has become a major health challenge for the nation to battle.
“There are varieties of sweet potatoes but OFSP is highly rich in Beta-carotene and it is an excellent source of pro-vitamin A,” he explained.
Mr Adofo said this, when he made a presentation at the first “Orange Day”, a Farm Radio International and Editors Forum, Ghana collaboration.
The day, which was on the theme “Fighting Vitamin A deficiency with Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato”, was to showcase the nutritional value and health benefits of the OFSP.
Mr Adofo said CSIR had developed many technologies, but unfortunately, were not entrepreneurs adopting these technologies to commercialise them.
Most sweet potatoes in Ghana are white or yellow-fleshed, but a few orange-fleshed sweet potato varieties are available.
Orange-fleshed sweet potato is a versatile crop, which also contributes to food security and improves upon food availability and livelihoods when farmers plant high yielding varieties, use better integrated crop management strategies and improved post-harvest practices.
Orange-fleshed sweet potato could help prevent blindness, disease and even death.
In view of this Feed the Future and its partners are helping families across the globe, and especially in Africa, to grow and incorporate orange-fleshed sweet potatoes into their diets.
He expressed regret that Ghanaians preferred the westernized products and neglected homegrown food crops.
He, therefore, encouraged families to patronise the local crops, which were rich in vitamins to address our health needs.
Mr Ben Fiador, the Country Director of Farm Radio International, said 60 per cent of Ghanaian children suffered from Vitamin A Deficiency but OFSP was a highly nutritious crop that has health benefits for pregnant women, new mothers and the young ones.
The OFSP three-year project, he said, was being implemented in the Central, Volta, Northern and Upper East Regions, to encourage local radio stations to develop programmes targeting small holder farmers.
The project, he explained, was also involving the policy makers, buyers, researchers and other stakeholders to give voice to these farmers and feed them with information vital to the development of their work.
Ms Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, Chairperson of the Editors Forum, urged the media to join in the OFSP campaign to help boost agriculture, food security and improve the nation's economy.