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17.06.2005 General News

FRI, Legon develop new bambara flour variety

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Tamale, June 17, GNA - The Food Research Institute (FRI) and the Home Science Department of the University of Ghana, Legon, have developed a new variety of "bambara" bean flour to diversify the end use of the product. The product known as the "High Quality Bambara Flour" (HQBF) was developed following persistent complaints by farmers in northern Ghana about the decline in the production of the crop due to the lack of processing technologies.

The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) funded the research with support from Women in Agriculture Development of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Community Action Programme for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, an NGO. At a food fair organised by the Ghana Bambara Coalition in Tamale on Thursday to showcase the various recipes developed using HQBF, 21 new recipes were exhibited in addition to the 11 existing bambara recipes.

On display were bambara garden eggs stew, bambara "kontonmire", bambara doughnut, bambara cake, bambara "koose", and bambara pastry pie and bread rolls, among other varieties.

Mr Mohammed Amin Adam, the Deputy Northern Regional Minister who opened the fair, said the agriculture sector had contributed to food security in the country. He said the government had made it a major policy to make agriculture profitable to sustain rural economic activities as a key instrument to poverty alleviation.

Mr Adam said it was government's commitment to encourage the introduction of new technologies through foreign investment, research and extension to boost food production. ''One of the major problems in the country's quest for sustainable agricultural growth and development is the lack of effective agro-processing to add value to agricultural products.'' ''It is also the concern of the government to generate employment through agriculture and employ research to extend shelf-life of agricultural products to ensure an all year-round food availability at affordable prices,'' he said

Dr Abdulai Baba Salifu, the Director of the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the CSIR, recommended the use of bambara flour in the daily diet of children to stem the incidence of micronutrients deficiency that results in stunted growth. He said the new variety took a considerable shorter time to cook thereby reducing fuel use and time spent to prepare bambara.

The new product could also be useful in the health food and beauty therapy to cure certain skin ailments. Dr Salaifu said over 150 different accessions of bambara groundnut are held at SARI that would provide the genetic base through which new species could be developed. Prizes and certificates of honour were awarded to various women groups who had used the HQBF technology to develop other recipes.

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