The National Varietal Release and Registration Committee (NVRRC) has recommended a number of crop varieties developed by the CSIR-Crops Research Institute for release. The committee inspected the Institute’s taro, groundnut and cassava fields on 20th July 2017.
Four (4) taro varieties were presented for release. After field inspections and a presentation by the lead scientist, Dr. Ernest Baafi, all four taro varieties were recommended for release by the Committee. This is the first time taro varieties have been released in Ghana.
In addition to higher corm yield potential and corm dry matter content, these varieties are also tolerant to the taro leaf blight disease-a disease which negatively affects the production and utilization of the crop which is already facing extinction in Ghana and most parts of the world.
The varieties recommended for release are CRI-Huogbelor, CRI-Asempa, CRI-Agyenkwa and CRI-Yen anya with potential yields of 12-25tonnes/ha and corm dry matter content of 33-42%.
Economic analysis of the released taro varieties resulted in a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 3.0 -11.0 as against 1.4 for the local variety indicating higher profitability for farmers.
The varieties have varied uses. They can be prepared into ‘ampesi’, fufu, chunk-fried, crispy chips, flour, starch, and varied bakery products. It is estimated that 5000 plantlets will be generated by the end of 2018 for supply to farmers.
The development and release of the taro varieties were sponsored by the CSIR-Crops Research Institute and the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP).
In a related development, the Institute also presented four groundnut varieties and three cassava varieties for inspection by the NVRRC on 21st July, 2017. After field inspections and presentations, all four groundnut varieties CRI Dehye, Crops-Nkatie, CRI-Agbeyeye, CRI-Pemina were recommended for release. These varieties are aflatoxin-tolerant, have high oil content, rosette-tolerant and early maturing.
Two of the three cassava varieties presented, Crops-Bankye and CRI Bediako were also recommended for release by the committee.
The committee visited the taro inspection fields to inspect the four proposed varieties
The taro breeder, Dr. Ernest Baafi explaining a point to the committee during the field visit
The taro inspection field established by the CSIR-CRI.
The Committee in a group picture with CSIR-CRI staff after the field inspection