The Department of Food Science and Technology of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has hosted the third quarterly meeting of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA-McGill Cassava Project. The project is on the theme “Improving Quality, Nutrition and Health Impacts of Inclusion of Cassava Flour in Bread Formulation in West Africa (Nigeria & Ghana)”.
The event took place on the 1st and 2nd March 2016. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) project which commenced in February 2015 will end in August, 2016. The project objective is to optimize the quality, nutritional and health implications of cassava, promote household incomes as part of poverty reduction initiatives and employment creation targeting rural communities and youth. The long term goal is to enhance food security and to reduce poverty, malnutrition and ill-health.
The main collaborating institutions are McGill University, Canada, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria. The implementing partners are KNUST (Department of Food Science and Technology), Kumasi, Ghana and three Nigerian Agricultural Universities (Umudike, Makurdi and Abeokuta).
Prof Michael Ngadi, the principal investigator from McGill University, stated that the meeting was to afford the team the opportunity to reflect, review and re-strategize to ensure the sustainability and success of the project.
Prof. William Otoo Ellis, the Vice-Chancellor, stated that there had been many forums for discussing interventions to ensure food for the future. He believed that our traditional food crops such as cassava have a strategic place and role to play in that direction. He added that one of the best ways of promoting the crop is to transform it and use it in products that are already widely accepted and consumed such as bread. Prof. Ellis hoped the meeting would help push this important initiative.
He used the occasion to welcome all participants and expressed his interest in seeing the project make a positive impact in the lives of people in Ghana and Africa as a whole. All implementing teams were to present their objectives, methods, findings and challenges for all to learn from one another and also to find best ways to handle the challenges to strengthen the project.
Other scientists working on the project at KNUST are Prof. Ibok Oduro and Dr. Faustina D. Wireko-Manu. Mr. Enock Aryeetey and Ms. Gemima Owusua are master students on the project. In addition to the KNUST team there were Prof. Robert Kok and other scientists from McGill, participants from IITA and team members from the Nigerian universities.