Sunyani (B/A), Nov. 29, GNA -Mr Philip Titriku, Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, has called for concerted efforts to boost the production of sunflower as a cash crop.
Mr. Titriku who represented the Minister of Food and Agriculture, at a Stakeholders forum on Sunflower in Sunyani at the weekend, said sunflower was second to soya-bean as a source of vegetable oil in the world.
The cultivation of the product as an oilseed crop started in the 19th century in the former Soviet Union.
The Forum, which was attended by 149 participants, was on the theme: "Sunflower, The Crop With Untapped Economic and Health Potentials Within the Context of the Ghana Poverty Strategy and Sustainable Development Enterprise".
It was organised by Tropical Agricultural Marketing and Consultancy Services (TRAGRIMACS), Sunflower Ghana, a non-governmental organisation with support from the Crop Science Department, University of Ghana, Legon and Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
Mr. Titriku said sunflower oil was found to be of superior quality because of its low cholesterol content.
He expressed the hope that the Forum would reactivate the interests in the cultivation of the crop.
Mr. Issah Sulemana, Chief Executive Officer of TRAGRIMACS said Government spent two million dollars every month to import sunflower oil for the fishing processing companies in the country.
He said Government had procured two machines to process sunflower in the Region.
Mr. Sulemana said experts from the University of Legon and SARI had endorsed CRN 4040 and PAN 7351 as the two seed varieties of the crop suitable for cultivation in Ghana.
The participants were taken through tropics such as:" Climatic Requirements"; "Soil Requirements"; "Management Practices"; "Harvesting", "Grading and marketing" and "Yields In The Production of Sunflowers", by Professor Obeng Ofori, Head of Crop Science Department, of the University of Ghana, and Dr. Roger Kanton of SARI. 29 Nov. 04