Monday, October 14, 2013

Ghana becomes the first country to launch national yam strategy

Participants at the Ghana yam strategy launch
Ghana has taken a major step ahead of other yam-producing nations with the launch of a strategy for the development of the yam industry from farm to market. This follows the global conference on yams held in Accra on 3-6 October and ongoing strategic development for the sector.
   “The strategy envisions making Ghana the leading source of premium quality yam products with global penetration and contributing to an improved Ghanaian economy and livelihoods,” says the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan.
   “One of the objectives of the strategy is to develop commercially-driven research and development as well as capacity building in yam value chain,” he added at the inauguration of the strategy in Accra on 8 October.
   The economic value of the yam industry in Ghana has grown quite rapidly in recent years, with its foreign exchange earnings shooting up to the third position among the nontraditional export commodities in the period 2010 to 2012. Demand for yam in both fresh and processed forms is increasing in new markets abroad and domestically. The industry faces tremendous opportunities as well as challenges and requires support policies, and private sector investment to be organized as a whole value chain.
   The Ghana Yam Strategy is a private sector-led road map that started in 2012. It is championed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture with the support of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection.
   The International Trade Centre (ITC) and IITA provided technical support and process facilitation.
   “Despite the contribution of yam, the crop has not been given the right attention. This is what this strategy aims to correct,” says Mr Anthony Sikpa, Chairman of the Ghana Yam Strategy Committee.
   “With this strategy not only will yam be given attention, but it will also provide opportunities for all stakeholders in the yam sector,” he added.

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