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Crop Biotech Update

World Vision Project to Improve Vitamin A Deficiency in Ghana

September 18, 2014

A project using a food based approach through the production, consumption and marketing of orange flesh sweet potato seeks to improve vitamin A deficiency especially among children under five years in Ghana.

The initiative, System Approach to Improve and Sustain Food Security in West Africa (SATISFY), undertaken by World Vision Ghana would benefit two districts in the Brong Ahafo region, namely Kintampo South and Atebubu.

"We have realized that vitamin A deficiency is a problem in Ghana and supplementation is becoming a challenge, for the past three months now, the supply has been erratic,'' says Stephen Matey, World Vision project coordinator. "There is the need to introduce new approach and we think that food based approach is better, given that farming plays a major role in the country.  Thus, farmers can produce crops that are high in vitamin A to address vitamin A deficiency to improve nutrition,'' he stated at Orange Flesh Sweet Potato Community of Practice meeting, organized by Farm Radio International in Accra.

According to Ghana Health Service, 12,000 children die every year of underweight-related ailments due to malnutrition. The statistics also indicate that under-nutrition contributes to about half of all child deaths beyond early infancy, whilst one out of every 13 children in Ghana die before their 5th birthday.

Having received training in OFSP, Matey says the plan is to pass on the knowledge to agricultural and extension officers and also to train the farmers and support them to grow, consume, and market the crop to get additional income.

For more information on biotech in Africa, contact bbita@isaaa.org.