The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in partnership with the Crops Research Institute (CRI), has introduced new and improved Vitamin ‘A’ orange maize varieties to farmers in the Fanteakwa and Atiwa Districts of the Eastern Region.
The move is to enable the farmers to shift from the cultivation of white maize to the new orange and yellow maize to help increase yield for higher income.
The varieties are Honampa, Ahoedzin, Ahoefe and Dzifoo.
Others are Abotem and yellow maize developed by the CSIR and CRI in Kumasi with support from Harvest Plus Project based in International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (Nigeria), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Mexico.
Addressing the farmers and agriculture officers at Saamang in the Fanteakwa South District, Dr Manfred Ewool, Maize breeder at the Crops Research Institute, said samples of the new varieties were given to the Department of Agriculture of the Fanteakwa South and the Atiwa District Assemblies to set up demonstration fields to help educate the farmers in the area on the newly introduced seeds.
He said sensory evaluation was undertaken as part of the programme with the farmers in the preparations of Banku, Ga Kenkey and Tuozafi.
Dr Ewool said the orange maize matures early and also contains Vitamin “A,” which is very essential for the eyes, skin and even unborn babies.
He said when used as poultry feed, the eggs laid look a bit yellowish and are healthier than those fed with the white maize, hence the need for farmers to adopt these newly improved seeds.
Dr Ewool said that the varieties have already been introduced to farmers in the Central, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Eastern Regions.
He said currently extensive promotion of Vitamin “A” orange maize varieties is ongoing by CSIR and CRI in 35 communities in the Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo Regions with support from the World Food Program.
Dr Ewool called on the government to include the orange maize varieties in the School Feeding Programme to improve the nutritional values of food given to the children.
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