Strengthening root and tuber value chain in Ghana
Root and tuber crops are second in importance to cereals as a global source of dietary calories (Babaleye, 2005). For Ghana, root and tuber crop consumption forms between 16 and 31% of per capita daily calorie consumption (GSS, 2005). The end uses of these crops make them an important component of a targeted strategy for improving the welfare of poor women in urban centers who are the key actors in the value addition processes (marketing and processing). There is always a glut during the harvest season which leads to high postharvest losses. Value addition to these staple crops through new product development, technological improvement and capacity building will help reduce postharvest losses, expand the utilization base of these staples, improve incomes of key actors in the chain, stabilize food prices in urban centers, and improve household food security. Improved incomes will lead to more investment in value-added activities, employment generation and ultimately, an increase in economic growth. Currently, there is limited empirical knowledge on the performance of the entire root and tuber value chain in Ghana. The current project seeks to have a comprehensive/holistic view of the value chains of the four main root and tuber crops (cassava, yam, cocoyam and sweet potato) in Ghana. This project will contribute substantially to national research capacity building in Ghana through a comprehensive analysis of the entire root and tuber value chain by employing integrated value chain methodologies. Scientific knowledge generated from this project will help promote the growth and performance of the Ghanaian root and tuber sector to engender employment generation, improve incomes and household food security in the medium to long-term.
Project completion report:
The broad aim of the project was to contribute to national research capacity that will eventually lead to strengthening root and tuber (cassava, yam, cocoyam, and sweet potato) value chains in Ghana. It was aimed at mapping the crop value chains and examining constraints and the institutional settings. It was also to examine consumer preferences to form the basis of product development from the four root and tuber crops. It was also meant to build research capacities of PhD and MSc students and the business capacities of actors in the root and tuber value chain. Finally, scientific knowledge obtained from the project were to be disseminated through publications, workshops, and conferences, among others.