Government is committed to addressing post-harvest losses – Minister
Alhaji Sulemana Alhassan, the Upper West Regional Minister, has stated that government recognizes the impact of post-harvest losses in agricultural development and is therefore committed to putting in mechanisms to minimize the challenge.
“Government has rolled out the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, supporting the National Food Buffer Company (NAFCO) to expand storage capacity, the warehouse receipt system has been launched and the ongoing consultation on the development of Agricultural Marshall Plan will definitely entrench government’s commitment to remove the bottle necks hindering agriculture development,” he said.
Alhaji Alhassan who stated this during the first Upper West Regional Post-Harvest Loss Forum in Wa, said these measures were expected to eliminate constraints in addressing post-harvest losses in Ghana as well as unleash the needed impetus to ensure that agriculture became the game changer in the development of the Region.
He acknowledged efforts by both local and international NGOs in helping deal with the phenomenon, saying he believe it was in that direction that SNV together with the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) was currently implementing the Voice for Change (V4C), which among other objectives was geared towards reducing post-harvest losses in Ghana among other commodities such as rice, maize and groundnuts.
Madam Elizabeth A. Kutina, Regional Agriculture Officer in charge of Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD), said one of the major constraints for the development of agriculture in Ghana was lack of access to appropriate technologies for processing, transporting, handling, and storage of crop produce.
She said limited knowledge in post-harvest management particularly of perishable produce have resulted in high losses of about 20 – 60 percent in fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers and about 20 – 30 percent for cereals and legumes.
Madam Kutina noted that limited availability of appropriate women friendly and labour saving technologies and imbalances in the delivery of extension services to disseminate information have negative impact on the productivity of women farmers and producers.
Mr. Ibrahim Akalibila, Coordinator of GTLC, said the objectives of the forum were to increase understanding of the post-harvest loss chain and where losses were high for crops such as maize, sorghum, rice, groundnuts and tomatoes and increased commitment to invest in post-harvest losses management technology in the Region.
It will also ensure the development of a roadmap to deploy appropriate post-harvest loss technology in the Region and improved multi-sectoral collaboration towards addressing post-harvest losses in the Region, he added.