Root and Tuber Improvement Programme

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Root and Tuber Improvement Programme

Roots and tubers are extremely important crops in rural Ghana. They are a source of both food and income. In the northern regions, the yam harvest marks the end of the lean period while families wait for their main staples, sorghum and millet, to ripen. Cassava is a staple in central Ghana and is a major element of food security since it can be stored in the ground and harvested when needed. Sweet potato and cocoyam (taro) are important in the more humid zones in the south.
All three categories of roots and tubers are the staple foods of urban dwellers, especially the urban poor. The goal of this IFAD project is to enhance food security and improve the income of resource-poor farmers by facilitating access to new but proven technologies to boost production of root and tuber crops.
The project's objectives are to:
  • develop a sustainable system for multiplication and distribution of improved planting materials for roots and tubers
  • develop an integrated pest management system, including biological control, to reduce the incidence of disease and pests
  • strengthen on-farm adaptive research and increase the availability of new cropping, storage and processing techniques
  • empower resource-poor farmers, particularly women, to ensure that they have unimpeded access to improved technologies

Rich varieties of a "poor people's crop"

One of the innovative features of the first phase of the Root and Tuber Improvement Programme, which was completed in 2005, was to focus on crops traditionally associated with poverty. The programme had an impact on improving food security through the development, testing, multiplication and distribution of new varieties of roots and tubers, mainly cassava. The new varieties were selected for their faster growth, better taste and higher yield. As a result, cassava's prestige grew even among urban consumers.

About 720,000 farmers were able to access the new varieties and many participated in the 17 farmer field schools that the programme set up across the country.

The new phase, entitled the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme, will now focus on improving market linkages between producers and consumers to boost poor rural farmers' incomes.

Status: Closed
Approval Date
04 December 1997
1997 - 2005
Agricultural Development
Total Project Cost
US$ 10.11 million
IFAD Financing
US$ 9.02 million
Co-financiers (Domestic)
National Government US$ 1.03 million
Financing terms
Highly Concessional
Project ID

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