The training-of-trainers course on “Everything You Need to Know about Sweet Potato” organised by the Department of Food Science and Technology of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) was opened on 1st February, 2016. It will run till 12th February, 2016 at the International Centre for Innovative Learning (ICIL).
The training was organised in conjunction with Centro Internacional De la Para (CIO) also known as Centre for International Potato (CIP). The conference is bringing together stakeholders from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Crop Research Institute, researchers, Women in Agriculture, food processors and other stakeholders to promote sweet potato.
Professor Richard Akromah, Provost of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, stated that a major limitation of sweet potato was the planting material-needs since it was planted soon after the dry season. Sweet potato is a vegetative propagated crop. The planting material in the form of a vine needs to be maintained during the dry season and made ready for planting in the rainy season. The workshop has brought participants from all sectors to work together to promote sweet potato cultivation as the cheapest means of solving the vitamin deficiency that affects children and pregnant women in developing countries.
He revealed that the Departments of Crop and Soil Sciences and Food Science and Technology have researched a lot into sweet potato with respect to its conservation, planting materials and agronomy. The Department of Food Science has researched into the utilization of the sweet potato in the area of food products, and have come out with products such as sweet potato gari, yoghurt and doughnut with the help of Professors Ibok Oduro and Faustina Dufie.
He thanked the organizers for the workshop and hoped that the participants would extend the knowledge gained to the public especially the farmers.
Professor Ibok Oduro from the Department of Food Science and the facilitator for the training explained that most people did not know the importance of the sweet potato and as such awareness should be created. She stated that the purpose of the seminar was to build the capacity of participants so that they could use their expertise to train others. In her presentation, she explained that the facilitators were first trained about everything on sweet potato so that they would also train others. She stated further that most participants were present because they were fully sponsored and she believed that in future the training would attract some fees.
Prof. Mrs. Oduro said that the programme was the first of its kind and as a result was fully funded by CIP. She explained that CIP had an upcoming project in the Volta Region and as a result most of the participants came from Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.
She remarked that the participants would undergo training in the processes of farming such as selection of varieties, preparing the land as well as the processing and nutritional aspects with practical activities like cooking and preservation to excite the participants.