Ghanaian Yam varieties have “good prospects” says Agriculture Minister
February 10, 2021:- The three (3) Ghanaian yam varieties recently harvested at the National Seed Bank (NSB) in Chaguaramas have “good prospects” particularly in terms of their yield, storability, shape and remarkable potential for agro-processing. So said the Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, on Tuesday 9th February, 2021, when he visited the propagation station to participate in a yam display and organoleptic testing exercise hosted for the Ministry’s executive and senior staff.
The yam varieties – which were brought into the country by Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, following his official visit to Ghana in March, 2020. They were subsequently planted at the NSB in June 2020 and harvested earlier this month. The commodities comprise of two (2) Ghanaian varieties of white yam (Pona / TDR89/02665 & TDR 95/ 19177) and one (1) variety of water yam (Matches).
Minister Rambharat said that he was pleased to see the project came on stream despite a few challenge and noted, that while many of our local provisions originated from Africa and other parts of the world, it is “always important” to introduce new varieties to the mix in order to add to Trinidad and Tobago’s existing stock and also to rebuild our own.
Commenting further on the Ghanaian varieties, the Agriculture Minister said, “One of the things that caught my attention was the fact that it seemed easier to handle in terms of the shape and the ability to be peeled mechanically. This is always a key factor when it comes to processing, as persons are always looking at the possibility of the yam being good for yam flour and also if you want to do processing of value added, If there is a need for hand peeling, that is an additional labour cost, as against a simpler method of just scraping off its skin and washing it, that will be a major pull factor to consider.”
In describing the NSB as “a place where the technical people in the Ministry really take the lead”, Minister Rambharat said he was particularly heartened by the “energy” and “interest” by its staff and looked forward to production of more plant material, so that these new varieties can be made available to the public within the shortest possible period of time.