By Roselyn Ganyaglo
Researchers in Agriculture have made a case for a boost in sunflower oil production in Ghana. This is expected to save the country some 4 million US dollars used to import the oil for fish processing companies.
According to them, there are enormous economic benefits aside from the health benefits of sunflower oil. Biodiesel can be produced from it, which can earn the country some carbon credits, and the plantation can also be used to reclaim degradable lands caused by illegal mining.
Chief Executive Officer of Tropical Agricultural Marketing and Consultancy Services, TRAGRIMACS, Issah Sulemana, at the launch of the Sunflower Project in Accra, encouraged farmers to venture into sunflower farming as a side crop.
“There is a gap in the production of sunflower oil worldwide, so we feel this is an opportunity to revisit the project which started in 2006 but could not be sustained due to financial constraints.”
Mr. Sulemana said Sunflower is a grassland crop which can be planted during two farming seasons in the south, and once in the north, adding that, the sunflower business is in line with national policy on agriculture and industrialisation.
“Ghana exports fish flakes in sunflower oil to the tune of 147 million dollars annually, if the oil is produced in the country, there will be an increase in production of fish flakes which means more income generation,” he said.
Mr. Sulemana called for the establishment of a sunflower processing plant to create jobs to resuscitate the economy.
A Lecturer at the department of Chemistry at the KNUST, Dr. Michael Baah Mensah explained that sunflower oil is unsaturated hence it is highly recommended for consumption.
He urged the public to desist from using cooking oil repeatedly due to its health implications. Some farmers present at the launch expressed their readiness to venture into sunflower cultivation. The sunflower project is a collaboration between Tropical Agricultural Marketing and consultancy Services, the Crop Science Department of the University of Ghana and the Department of Chemistry at the KNUST.