Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini, the Deputy Northern Regional Minister, has appealed to researchers to research into the cultivation and consumption of local food to boost Africa’s local economies.
He said food security and the lack of it had been the bane of Africa’s development, which needed a concerted effort to address the problem.
Alhaji Fuseini gave the advice in Nyankpala on Tuesday at the opening of a five-day Annual Review and Planning workshop of Traditional African Vegetable (TAV) Project for Income and Nutrition in West and Central Africa hosted by the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (SARI).
The three-year project is under the auspices of the West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development where researchers from Mali, Burkina-Faso, Cameron and Ghana are meeting.
They will deliberate on how to improve food quality, safety and to enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity to climate change through integrated land, water and nutrient management in semi-arid West Africa.
The objective of the project is to contribute to improving the income level and nutrition status of rural families especially women and children in West and Central Africa.
Alhaji Fuseini said Africa was so rich yet very poor and that the paradox would continue to be used to mock the continent if measures were not put in place to ensure that Africans developed the habit and appetite of consuming their own traditional foods.
He said the problem facing Africans was the appetite and consumption of foreign foods to the neglect of their own saying, “You cannot have your full freedom if your mouth depends on someone’s kitchen”.
He said the Northern Region had the potential of farming to feed the entire country and stressed that the upgrading of the Tamale Airport into an international status would boost business activities and that, fresh vegetables could be exported direct from Tamale to Europe.
Dr Naimingnon Karbo, Cognate Director at the CSIR-SARI, said CSIR-SARI had been a beneficiary of four major projects with a total funding of about $577,000 dollars.
It was used for enhancing productivity, competitiveness and marketing of African traditional vegetables for improved income and nutrition in West and Central Africa.
He said the Traditional African Vegetable project had been very important to small holder farmers and households because of the huge food, nutritional and income security impact outcomes on most vulnerable populations of people for consumption and for sale.
Mr Stephen Kwasi Nutsugah, Director of SARI, said SARI had worked assiduously and collaboratively in developing technologies to support the agriculture sector.
He said transformation of livelihoods and poverty reduction in the north of Ghana could be achieved by concerted efforts by all stakeholders to reverse the resultant low agriculture productivity, which had been the main cause of poverty and food insecurity in Northern Ghana. GNA