Mr Theophilus Kenneth Hayford

The President of the Ghana Yam Producers and Exporters Association (GYPEA), Mr. Theophilus Kenneth Hayford, has lamented over the numerous challenges confronting the yam value chain.

Citing poor quality seeds resulting in short shelf life of yam, lack of storage facilities, inadequate agric extension services, deplorable road conditions, aging workforce on yam farms and lack of financial support for the yam value chain operators in the country.

He noted that the absence of a Yam Development and Marketing Board to coordinate the development and promotion of the yam sector similar to the Cocoa Marketing Board, as envisaged in the Yam Sector Development Strategy is costing the country and the yam sector players several millions of dollars.

He added that the absence of the Yam Development and Marketing Board is also denying the national economy of Ghana, essential jobs especially in Northern Ghana and Savannah areas of the country where the yam value chain can make the desired impact in the socio-economic transformation of the people of that area and beyond.

“In Ghana, the Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) is the most shining example of an agricultural produce development and marketing board. Since the inception of the CMB, it has implemented several bold initiatives that have resulted in sustained growth and development of the cocoa sector as a leading agricultural exporter earner for Ghana.

With the immense untapped potential of yam, if we pay the right attention to this commodity, it can contribute significantly toward poverty alleviation in Ghana as a whole and in yam growing communities such as Buya, Chinderi, Kpassa,Damanko, Bimbilla, Dambai and Kpandai where poverty is endemic,” he said.

He added that the situation is exacerbated by the fact that the two-member Yam Development Council (YDC), tasked to oversee the implementation of the Yam Sector Development Strategy exist only in name and has no functional secretariat or core administrative and technical staff to drive the policies that may be initiated by the Council.

“This should not be the fate of a commodity with so great a potential hence the need for a properly constituted Yam Sector Development and Marketing Board with a functional Secretariat to spearhead the development of the Yam sector and transform it into a vibrant commodity for both the domestic and international markets,” he said.

Mr Kenneth Hayford remarked that in light of this situation GYPEA, initiated an advocacy action under the DANIDA, European Union and USAID sponsored Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Phase III to demand for the establishment of a Yam Development and Marketing Board for Ghana which will see to the formulation and implementation of appropriate policy interventions which will ensure the optimal development and sustained growth of the yam sector in Ghana.

Source: Elorm Ntumy

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