“Currently, the government is considering a policy for high quality cassava flour for use in the food industry,” Mr Kwetey said.
He was addressing about 150 participants at the opening of a three-day international conference and exhibition on cassava utilisation and marketing in Accra.
The conference was organised by the Ghana Cassava Centre of Excellence (GCCE) in collaboration with the ministries of Food and Agriculture and Trade and Industry.
It had the theme, “Cassava: An Economic Transformational Tool for Food Security and Poverty Alleviation”.
Cassava value chain
Mr Kwetey said other countries such as Nigeria, Brazil and Thailand had developed the cassava value chain and this had impacted positively on the livelihood of their small-holder farmers.
Ghana currently is the third leading cassava producer in Africa and the sixth in the world, he said, adding that irrespective of its position, cassava was less respected in the economy.
He said the government had put together a cross sectoral team to develop a policy that would place emphasis on developing cassava’s value chain.
Dr Ekwow Spio-Gabrah, the Minister for Trade and Industry, said cassava, which had in the past not received a lot of respect, now held the potential for helping to transform the economy.
He said however, that more than 45 per cent of the cassava produced in the country went to waste due to post harvest losses, adding that if the right mechanisms were put in place “ this crop would sooner than later compete with cocoa as the foreign income earners for Ghana”.
He said out of cassava items such as flour for bread, starch for industrial output, glucose and sweeteners for confectioneries, and chips could be used for animal feed with yet other parts for the brewing of beer.
Mr William Agyei-Manu, Executive Director of the Ghana Cassava Centre of Excellence, said Ghana continued to import lots of ethanol and starch for the pharmaceutical industry, “which could be procured cheaply in the country, if proper attention was paid to the cassava value chain.
Professor Emmanuel Victor Doku who chaired the opening of the conference said cassava was no longer the lowest commodity, and that Ghanaians needed to realise that.