CIP has had a presence in Ghana since 2009 and has set a goal of reaching nearly 500,000 households with resilient nutritious sweetpotato by 2020.
Mr. and Mrs. Annan attended a round table discussion led by CIP and attended by a range of Ghanaian partners to discuss innovative ways to harness the power of orange fleshed sweetpotato, which is rich in beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A that is critical to enhance children’s health and in reducing blindness. Sweetpotato is also rich in other nutrients and carbohydrates vital for children under the age of five and lactating women. The Annans hope that the discussions lead to further development of sweetpotato in Ghana so that Ghanaians can benefit from this superstar of biofortified crops.
“The potential benefits of OFSP to Ghanaians are enormous,” stated Barbara H. Wells, director general of the International Potato Center. “CIP has a product that works and a proven method to develop farmers and markets to scale up rapidly in Ghana.”
CIP began work in Sub-saharan Africa in the early 2000s promoting orange-fleshed sweetpotato, providing quality and clean planting material, promoting good agricultural practices, and developing consumer demanded post-harvest products like biscuits and purees. To date CIP has reached 1 million households and has a goal of reaching 15 million households by 2023.
“The high vitamin A content of sweetpotatoes is of high value to children and young infants, particularly in West Africa and in Ghana,” stated Mrs. Nane Annan. “Offering vocational training to mothers and youth and making use of marginal lands is a great model for the region.”
CIP will convene separately with its partners based upon the discussions to make a proposal to move forward with a sweetpotato as the centerpiece of a nutrition and health initiative.
CIP’s partners in Ghana include CSIR – Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) which hosted the event on its premises in Kumasi, the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (SARI), Ghana Health Service, The Ministry of Food and Agriculture, leading Ghanaian Universities and private sector partners.
The International Potato Center (CIP) is a research and development organization with a focus on potato, sweetpotato, and Andean roots and tubers. CIP is dedicated to delivering sustainable science-based solutions to the pressing world issues of hunger, poverty, gender equity, climate change and the preservation of our Earth’s fragile biodiversity and natural resources. CIP is a member of CGIAR, a global agriculture research partnership for a food-secure future. www.cipotato.org .
Kofi Annan, CIP DG Barbara Wells, and Nane Annan
Mrs. Nane Annan and CIP DG Barbara Wells