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22.02.2005 Business & Finance

Industries urged to process Plantains, Banana into industrial use

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Asamankese (E/R), Feb. 22, GNA - The Project Coordinator, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Felix Anno-Nyarko had said there was the need to assess the post-harvest and marketing strategies of plantain and banana in Ghana.

He said despite the importance of plantain and banana, post-harvest losses are very high in the country, as a result of the sensitivity of the crops to temperature.

Dr Anno-Nyarko said this on Monday during the launch of a new hybrid plantain at a farmers' forum at Asamankese in West Akim District in the Eastern Region.

He said though there was the high demand for raw plantain, its processing into flour and chips and banana into fruit juice and baby food seemed not to be catching up and therefore, urged companies to shift their attention there.

Dr Anno-Nyarko said plans were far advanced to launch a consultancy study to assess the economic importance and determine seasonal trends of plantain marketing, both locally and for export among other factors that might be associated with the post-harvest management of plantain.

He said the study would evaluate mechanisms involved in the post-harvest handling of plantain and banana, saying, "this would become a working tool for the future".

He said the Food Research Institute of the CSIR had developed several products from plantain and banana with its co-ordinating partner, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) based in Ibadan, Nigeria, and had also developed novel processing options that reduce the bulk, extend the shelf-life and reduce transportation cost, while adding value and extending the market to the urban consumers.

Dr Anno-Nyarko said the information from the consultancy study would make it possible to assess the application of the available options and demonstrate these options to farmers and other stakeholders. He said there would be a systematic training and equipment acquisition programme targeting at least 900 women.

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