Naara or early millet is one of the most indigenous and important cereal crop in Ghana. In fact the five regions of the north have the greatest potential of growing the crop which is about the fourth most important cereal crop in Ghana. Naara is noted to be very reliable and used in almost every household in Ghana, until the introduction of maize in the recent years. Unlike maize that could not yield well without fertilizer, Naara can thrive with or without fertilizer. The crop is draught resistant that does not required much rain to grow.
Throughout the length and breadth of Ghana and many parts of the West African Sub-region, naara or early millet is widely consumed. It is used mostly in Ghana for Kooko (porridge), Foroforo (drinks for snacks) Maasa (deep oil-fried cake), Tuo-Zafi (TZ) for the main meal of the north. Naara is a rich nutritious grain crop with comparatively high levels of micronutrients especially Iron and Zinc.
In the light of this, some varieties/breeding lines with very high levels of micronutrients such as iron and zinc were received from ICRISAT-Niger as breeding materials to augment the local materials.
The breeding work to improve the iron and zinc content of the local materials are in its advanced stages and it is hoped that in the next two to three years new varieties would be released and popularized in the country. It would be an opportunity for the government to add it to its planting for Food and Jobs as well as the School feeding programmes.
Read the complete article by Emmanuel Akayeti in Modern Ghana