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Help address post-harvest loss – Committee urged

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), on Monday urged the Parliamentary Select Committee on Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs to help address issues of post-harvest losses in the country.

Mr Bismark Owusu Nortey, the Programme Officer of PFAG said past and current statistics on Post-harvest loss among major food crops does not augur well for the country and that has major implications for food and nutrition security.

Mr Nortey made a presentation on behalf of the PFAG, SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation) and other Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to the committee on the current state of post-harvest loss in the country and its effect on productivity and livelihoods.

He said current statistics on food losses from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), cited major crops such as mango, tomato, cassava and yam as having the highest percentage of post-harvest Losses.

He said Mango recorded, 45.6 per cent with Tomato having 37.5 per cent, while cassava had 33.6 per cent and yam 31.4 per cent post-harvest losses.

“Other crops such as maize, rice and cowpea recorded 14 per cent, 13.5 per cent and 10 per cent in that other,” he added.  

He said the losses were not limited to only food but also all the resources that go into the production of the crop. 

He cited major causes of post-harvest loss, which ranges from poor harvesting methods, poor handling procedures, poor drying techniques usually recorded at the producer level and lack of storage facilities, lack of marketing and distributing policies, lack of good road infrastructure and inadequate extension service delivery, which are attributable to governance lapses. 

He explained that food losses in Ghana were consistently highest at the producer level and attributed that to the inadequate extension service delivery in the country. 

He called on Parliament, as a matter of urgency, to push for the lifting of the ban on recruitment in the public sector, especially in the agricultural sector to make way for the recruitment of more extension agents, since the farmer to extension officer ratio was worrisome.

The Programme Officer also called for the development of a legislative instrument (LI) to guide the operations of the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) in mopping up excess produce from farmers.

Mr Asafo-Adjei Kwame, the Chairman of the Select Committee on Agric and Cocoa Affairs pledged the commitment to help address the challenges presented by PFAG and its partners for their campaign to reduce post-harvest loss and other agricultural challenges in the country. 

He expressed readiness of the Committee to collaborate with three key Ministries – Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Local Government, and Roads to address post-harvest management constraints in terms of infrastructure, personnel and capacity.  

Other Committee members called for effective collaboration and engagement between the MOFA, CSOs and farmers to identify strategies to adopt to reduce the rates of post-harvest losses among major crops in Ghana.

The meeting with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs forms part of the Voice for Change Campaign (V4C) implemented by SNV, PFAG and other CSOs with support from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and IFPRI. 

Among the CSOs presented at the meeting were representatives from Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition and General Agriculture Workers Union.

Source: GNA

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