Crop Improvement: Ghana’s Plant Genetic Resources Institute introduces new taro varieties

To resuscitate taro cultivation in Ghana, the Plant Genetics Resources Research Institute at Bunso, has introduced new varieties and accessions of the taro that can withstand adverse weather conditions and disease outbreaks.

The Acting Director of Plant Genetics Resources Research Institute of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Daniel Ashie Kotey, said taro was being extinct due to diseases and misapplication of agro-chemicals, which had become a challenge for farmers.

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However, he said during the presentation of some taro corms to Achiase District Agriculture Department that the Institute managed to resolve it.

He explained that taro yields plenty and could transform the lives of farmers who show interest in its production.

He said CSIR and Plant Genetics Resources Institute have distributed 80,000 taro planting materials or corms to over 800 farmers across the country.

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This was done through the CSIR’s Modernised Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) project.

Mr Kafui Safo, Director of Agriculture, Achiase District, thanked the Institute for the initiative and said farmers would be educated on the need to adopt good agronomic practices in taro production.

“Also, I will ensure that frequent monitoring of beneficiaries is done to check good agronomic practices to get high yield,” he said.

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He explained that taro usually matures for harvesting between a period of eight to nine months and possessed immense health benefits like the ability to improve digestion, lower blood sugar levels, and the protection of the skin.

The district is noted for growing prevailing crops such as cassava, pepper, oil palm, and cocoa.

The Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute said it was into the development of varieties of crops that are tolerant to diseases as well as early maturing and high-yielding varieties of crops.

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