Northern Ghana is the largest producer of groundnuts in the country, an official of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has said.
Madam Hawa Musah, Northern Regional Director at MOFA who disclosed this on Wednesday stated that statistics available at MOFA puts the northern sector production level to 85 per cent of the total nationwide production.
She said more than 70 per cent of farmers in northern Ghana produced groundnuts as major crop even though on small to medium scales and involved more women in the production and processing chains of the leguminous crop over the years.
Madam Musah said this in a speech read on her behalf at a two-day meeting of the Ghana Groundnut Working Group (GGWG) held in Tamale to showcase new technologies and innovative ways involved in processing the crop and to develop participants’ interest to add greater value to the production of the crop through innovation.
The meeting brought together key actors across the country in the groundnut value chain to support sound foundation to fill critical gaps that limited the development of the groundnut industry in the country.
The programme funded by USAID, and supported by CSIR-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute was mandated to provide farmers in the five regions of Northern Ghana, including; Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West with appropriate technologies to increase food and fibre crop production based on a sustainable production system that maintained and increases soil quality and fertility.
Madam Musah said the country’s average net export of groundnut was low, and suggested the need to expand the export base to estimated surplus of 17,228 metric tonnes (MT) of total production of the crop annually to boost the economic situation of farmers.
She noted that the consumption of groundnut in Ghana increased from 78,000 MT in 2010 to 93,020MT in 2018 due to its multiple benefits.
Dr Stephen K. Nustugah, the Director of Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) later in an interview with the GNA stated that it was important to increase the efficiency of the value chain through the supply of mechanisation services at all levels to increase efficiency and quality of products that would meet both local and international markets.
He called on the stakeholders to campaign and sensitise the farmers on the reduction of aflatoxin levels on groundnut farms to increase yields and incomes.
Dr Mumuni Abudulai, Chief Research Scientist and Entomologist, who is also the Principal Investigator of the Peanut Research Innovation Lab of USAID at the CSIR-SARI, stated that the five-year programme started last year to increase the production levels of the crop over the years, indicating that it presented another opportunity for the establishment of processing plants that would improve on the current labour intensive processing practices