More than 2,000 women beneficiaries of the USAID Resiliency in Northern Ghana (RING) project in 17 districts in the Northern Region have begun a two-month long harvest of over 100 acres of orange fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSPs).
USAID-Ghana Mission Director, Andy Karas, who announced this at Nyensung in the Gushegu District of the Northern Region while on a visit to beneficiaries of RING, said women from 70 communities will harvest about 250 metric tons of OFSPs, nutrient-rich crops with the potential to improve nutrition in the region.
Through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, USAID is collaborating with Government of Ghana, University for Development Studies and the Peace Corps to promote the cultivation and consumption of “Alaafei Wuljo” in the 17 districts.
The OFSP is expected to improve the health of thousands of women and children in the Northern Region by encouraging diverse crop production. The vitamin-rich crop reduces vitamin A deficiency and anemia, both of which are precursors to serious illness and endemic to the Northern Region.
“Not only is the simple potato we are celebrating today tasty –but it is a powerful nutrient-rich tool in the quest to reduce malnutrition,” said Mr. Karas at the event. “Today’s harvest is testament to the power of partnership,” he added.
The District Chief Executive for Gushegu, Seidu Abdulai, indicated that the district’s 2015 and 2016 approved work plan under the RING project received a budgetary support of over GH¢1.2million.
“The estimated amount for 2017 is GH¢998,000.00. For OFSP alone, this year the district spent a total of GH¢34,901.32 for the cultivation and management of cultural practices in 7 communities including Nyensgung, which alone has a total of 34 households who were supported by this intervention with ploughing, seeds and farm tools”, he added.
He commended USAID Ghana for the support through RING, indicating that the project since its inception last year injected so much capital to address critical gaps in the Gushegu District’s developmental efforts especially in areas such as livelihood, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene and governance.
USAID is the lead U.S. government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realise their potential. USAID supports Ghana in increasing food security, improving basic healthcare, enhancing access to quality basic education and strengthening local governance to benefit all Ghanaian people.