The Crops Research Institute (CRI) has introduced 12 newly developed improved rice, maize and cassava varieties to support government’s efforts at achieving food security.

The improved varieties, which have higher yields, nutritional value, good for poultry and livestock, and drought resistant, were showcased at a ceremony held at Fumesua in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality on Monday.

It took CRI about four years to come out with such varieties. The Savanna Agricultural Research Institute and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture provided the funds for the research.

The varieties are suitable for planting in the coastal savanna zone.

The names of the rice varieties are “Marshal Perfume”, “ITA 320”, “Bouake 189” and “ITA 324” whilst the maize comprise names such as “Enii-Pibi”, ”Omankwa”, “Aburohemaa” and “Abontem”. The cassava varieties are “Ampong”, “Bankye Broni”, “Sika Bankye” and “Otuhia”.

Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), in a speech read for him, commended the Institute for the breakthrough and noted that such crops were the most important on the African continent.

He said he was confident that the new varieties would prove to be climate-friendly to ensure food security and sustenance in the country.

Ghana currently imports 500,000 tonnes of rice annually at a cost of US$300 million and that he said was unacceptable. According to him, a lot needed to be done to improve the situation.

Mr Ahoi repeated government’s resolve to give CRI all the necessary support to enable it to achieve its goal of developing high yielding, consumer acceptable food and industrial crop varieties, which would be tolerant of climatic change.

Mr Kwaku Nicole, Chairman of the National Varietal Release Committee, urged MOFA to work hard to encourage farmers to adopt the new crop varieties.

He stressed the need for corporate bodies to collaborate with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) by helping to provide funding for its research activities to improve the agricultural sector.

Mr Kofi Opoku-Manu, Ashanti Regional Minister, said government would continue to encourage science and technology education since it was through such efforts that people created wealth to reduce poverty.

Source: GNA

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