The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Crops Research Institute (CRI) has intensified its campaign against cassava diseases in the country.
The project aims to increase food security for the staple crop, which is also used in the production of flour and starch.
The “Together Let’s Save Our Cassava” campaign aims to raise awareness of key cassava illnesses that have a negative impact on cassava productivity and educate farmers on how to reduce or eliminate the disease’s impact.
Dr Allen Oppong, a senior Research Scientist at the Crop Research Institute, told about 100 farmers in the Atebubu enclave in the Bono East Region on Friday that the awareness and sensitisation program had become necessary because of the security threats these cassava diseases posed to the staple crop, not only in Ghana but across the continent of Africa.
He indicated the cassava mosaic virus illness, which he said was endemic in the country and had no remedy, and how it harmed the country’s crop yield, as well as other diseases including cassava mosaic branch sickness, which is common in Central Africa but poses a threat to Ghana.
Dr. Oppong, who is also the WAVE Africa crop campaigner, believes that policymakers and other stakeholders must work together to address the issue before it reaches crisis proportions.
He claimed that cassava provided 21% of agriculture’s GDP and that all efforts must be made to preserve the situation.
The senior scientist advised the farmers to adopt good farming practices, such as planting improved varieties, weeding their farms early as well as reporting the disease to Agriculture Extension officers for early remedy.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UK AID commissioned the Central and West Africa virus epidemiology for root and tuber crops project, which was supported by CORAF, to empower smallholder farmers and relevant stakeholders to manage viral diseases of root and tuber crops in West and Central Africa in a coordinated manner.
In a speech, Stephen Aidoo, the Atebubu Municipal Director of MoFA, stated that his organization is ready to assist farmers in the Atebubu area with the problem.
He urged the attendees to share their newfound knowledge with other farmers in order to combat the disease.