A former United Nations Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan, and his wife, Nane, are collaborating with the International Potato Centre (CIP) to intensify a campaign on the consumption of sweet potatoes to improve the health of women and children less than five years.
The campaign, which is also intended to create wealth, is targeted at reaching at least 500,000 households in Ghana with resilient nutritious sweet potato by 2020.
Mr Annan addressed scientists at the Crops Research Institute (CRI) at Fumesua in the Ejisu-Juaben municipality last Friday as part of the campaign.
The orange-fleshed sweet potato is said to be rich in beta carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A, which is critical to enhance children’s health and in reducing blindness.
The project is expected to be scaled up and help reach 15 million homes in Africa from an initial one million.
It is also to encourage women to take advantage of the plant’s short maturing period (three to five months) to cultivate it under marginal conditions to improve on their livelihoods and finances.
Mr Annan said Africa should be able to produce more to feed itself and for export and thereby secure the continent’s food security.
The former UN Secretary General said the youth should be encouraged to go into farming, sating, “If they do not want to be referred to as farmers, we can change that to agro-businessmen just to encourage them.”
The CIP is expected to convene separately with its partners to make a proposal to move forward with sweet potato as the centrepiece of a nutrition and health initiative.
By: Daniel K. Kenu
Date: Monday, 16 March 2015