April 06: Breeding cassava the co-operative way

  • Play:
  • Song Name: Breeding cassava the co-operative way
  • Artist: WRENmedia
  • Album: AGFAX
  • Year: 2006

Suggested introduction
How relevant can a tuber be to the economy of Africa? Cassava is one of the most important root crops on the continent, with over 200 million people depending on cassava for their daily intake of calories. In Ghana, the crop provides 26% of the agricultural GDP. So when a disease like cassava mosaic disease threatens crop yields and production, farmers are rightly concerned.

There are better and higher yielding varieties of cassava available, but usually it is only scientists or researchers, who have access to them. Then, when they are finally given to farmers, they often do not meet local needs. So, the Crop Research Institute based in Kumasi, Ghana has tried out a different approach. In this project, farmers were asked to help choose cassava seedlings or clones, which would suit their needs for new varieties. In a move towards better farmer involvement, the scientists enabled farmers to have access to the wider and better range of seedlings available internationally. Both farmers and researchers selected their favourite seedlings or clones over three generations, giving both the opportunity to fully contribute to the final outcome of the breeding process.

Georgina Smith visited Kumasi in the Ashanti region of Ghana, to discover how asking farmers their opinion has yielded positive results all round.

TAPE IN "Cassava – one of Ghana’s major crops...
TAPE OUT ...to know where they will send their product."

Closing announcement: Oswald Ohene-Gyan ending that report on how scientists and farmers in Ghana are working together to identify disease-resistant and productive varieties of cassava.