The public has been urged to produce and consume more Orange Flesh Sweet Potatoes (OFSP) to help reduce malnutrition related diseases especially among children.
Mr Alphonsus Abobo of the Upper West Regional Department of Agriculture, who made the call, explained that the OFSP contained high nutrition value that could help solve issues of malnutrition.
He was speaking at a training programme for Community Nutrition Committee (CNC) members convened by the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) at Poyentanga in the Wa West District on the production, utilisation and storage of OFSP.
The GTLC, through the Netherlands Development Organisation's (SNV) Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP), formed the CNC for the Poyentanga sub-district with the mandate to mitigate, identify and refer cases of malnutrition in the area to the health facility for treatment.
The 17-member committee is composed of traditional leaders, Assembly Members and health service providers among others.
Mr Abobo noted that nutrition intake among children was paramount to help develop their Intelligent Quotient (IQ) and to improve their academic performance.
He explained that every aspect of the OFSP was potent enough to provide the child with the required nutrients – protein, iron, vitamin c among others – needed for proper growth and development.
He said the leaves of the OFSP could be used for preparing beverage or as vegetable; the roots could be fried, grinded and used as spice for meals; the vines could be fried and consumed and the tuber eaten as food.
Mr Abobo also noted that the vines could be produced and sold to other farmers to serve as alternative source of income.
To this end, the World Food Programme, through the Department of Agriculture is supplying members of the committee with the OFSP vines to cultivate.
Mr Emmanuel Wullingdool, Policy Officer for GTLC, said the latest Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey report indicated that about 15 per cent of children in the Region were stunted.
He further stated that data from the Wa West District Hospital indicated that one out of every five cases of malnutrition recorded at the facility was from the Poyentanga sub-district.
This, Mr Wullingdool said, necessitated the need for the committee members to be equipped with the requisite knowledge and capacity to function effectively in reducing cases of malnutrition in the area.
Mr Pele Abraham Bright, Chairman of the committee, commended GTLC for the training and gave the assurance that the knowledge acquired would be applied in their quest to fight malnutrition.
He said the committee had also planned to carry out series of activities to educate the public and scout for malnutrition cases in the communities and refer same to the health centres for treatment.