Towards Increased Cassava Production: CSIR-Crops Research Institute Hosts UNIDO-WACOMP’s Liberian Delegation

The Crops Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CRI) hosted a delegation of UNIDO-WACOMP Liberian partners comprising farmers and processors at its Fumesua campus on 9th February, 2024. This visit was aimed at introducing the Liberian partners to the Institute’s cassava research activities in order to explore potential future partnerships to boost cassava production in both countries.

In his welcome address, the Deputy Director of CSIR-CRI, Dr. Ernest Baafi highlighted CSIR-CRI’s research activities and its commitment to research for improved food security and economic development.

Mr. Joseph Yeboah, a representative from UNIDO-WACOMP, indicated that, Liberia had been struggling with cassava production and so the project sought to expose key stakeholders from Liberia to cassava production and processing activities in Ghana.

“We know CSIR-CRI is the leading research institute in Ghana, and as such it was relevant for the delegation from Liberia to pay a visit to the Institute and tap into the expertise and knowledge of the scientists of the institute”. He added. He further highlighted the importance of knowledge sharing and technical exchange in enhancing cassava production and processing.

In a brief presentation on improved cassava varieties in Ghana, Dr. Kwaku Onwona-Hwesofour Asante of the cassava section at CSIR-CRI, outlined the details of the Institute’s cassava breeding program, highlighting diverse cassava varieties and their unique characteristics.

Dr. Agbesi Keteku, a research scientist and Mrs. Abigail Amoa-Owusu, an assistant research scientist of the Institute provided valuable insights into good agricultural practices and post-harvest technologies in their respective presentations. Dr. Keteku focused on effective cassava cultivation methods, while Mrs. Amoa-Owusu shared insights on CSIR-CRI’s pro-vitamin “A” biofortified cassava and the various techniques for preserving and processing cassava. The delegation was toured the Institute’s ultra-modern biotechnology laboratory where they gained first-hand knowledge of the breeding processes and techniques employed in varietal releases and multiplication. Additionally, Dr. Allen Oppong, a virologist and a Principal Research Scientist shed light on cassava health management and gave tips on how to make cassava crops resilient against pests and diseases.

The visit ended with a visit to the Institute’s cassava fields where members of the delegation witnessed the practical application of the research activities discussed.

The visit of UNIDO-WACOMP Liberian partners to CSIR-CRI provided a platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration, paving the way for future partnerships that can significantly contribute to advancing the cassava sector in both Ghana and Liberia. By combining Ghana’s research expertise with Liberia’s cassava developmental needs, this collaboration holds immense potential to improve food security, livelihoods, and economic opportunities in both nations.

Authors: Patricia Konadu Mensah, Linda Agyeman, Lynda Nsafoah, Bernard Sakyiamah, Enoch Bobie Agyemang