Effiduase (Ash), Sept 8, GNA - The government imported 19,904 metric tonnes of soybean products between 1999 and 2002 at the cost of over 12 million dollars.
The total production of soybean in Ghana is 20,000 metric tonnes while the demand for the crop is 90,000 metric tonnes.
Mr E.K.T. Frempong, the National Co-ordinator of Food Crop Development Project of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), said this at the end of a two-day Soybean Utilisation Workshop organised by MOFA in collaboration with the African Development Bank on Tuesday. The workshop, attended by 40 participants including community farmers, food vendors, chop bar keepers and matrons, was aimed at encouraging them to use the beans in preparing many diets.
He said it was the policy of MOFA to whip up the interest and enthusiasm of farmers to produce more soybeans to be used locally and for export.
Mr Frempong said the ministry was adopting measures to promote the growth of the crop and these include supporting research institutions to develop the seed and encouraging the Grains and Legumes Board to improve the seed.
The others are assisting seed inspectors to improve the soybean variety while the ministry has been in touch with the Technology Transfer Centre (TTC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi to produce equipment to help process the soybean.
Mr Frempong said demonstration farms have been established to educate farmers on modern methods of cultivating the crop as well as giving them credit facilities to enable them increase their yield. He appealed to farmers who have been supported with loans by the MOFA to repay them to enable others to benefit from it.
Mr Christian Adu-Nti, Ashanti Regional Director of MOFA, said the Sekyere East and Ejura-Sekyedumase districts were the only districts selected from the Ashanti Region to benefit from the project.
Miss Becky Aidoo, one of the participants who spoke on behalf of her colleagues, said during the two-day workshop they learnt how to prepare 31 different diets from the soybean and mentioned some of them as 'ofam', doughnuts, pancake, cake, chips, kenkey, 'apeti' soup and khebab.
Nana Konadu Yiadom, Queen Mother of Effiduase, who chaired the function, appealed to the participants to use their knowledge and skills acquired during the workshop and to educate their colleagues on the need to grow more soybeans.