An initiative has been launched in Accra to enhance the large-scale cultivation of sunflowers, aiming to reduce the country’s annual $4 million sunflower oil imports. This project holds the potential to boost socio-economic development by producing edible oil, biodiesel for energy, and enhancing nutrition. It also aids the export of fish flakes in sunflower oil, amounting to $147 million yearly.
Tropical Agriculture and Marketing Consultancy Services (TRAGRIMACS) leads the effort, collaborating with the Crop Science Department of the University of Ghana and the Chemistry Department of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). TRAGRIMACS CEO, Issah Sulemana, emphasized the nation’s capacity for cultivating sunflower seeds for various products, including biodiesel for significant carbon credit earnings.
The project, previously successful from 2006 to 2012, is being reinstated due to the global decrease in sunflower production, particularly in Russia and Ukraine. Sulemana anticipates farmers growing this drought-resistant crop could make an average net profit of GH¢461 per acre. The initiative plans to attract investment by partnering with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre to include it in the investment portfolio. Dr. Michael Baah Mensah from KNUST highlighted the need for funding research to identify suitable sunflower seed varieties for the country’s cultivation.