Statistics has shown that at least 30 per cent of farm produce estimated at 700,000 dollars is lost annually through post-harvest losses, a situation which reduces incomes of farmers.
This tends to make farming unattractive, and inhibits efforts at ensuring food security in the country whiles perpetuating poverty amongst some farmers, who lose even all their produce through post-harvest losses.
Research institutions such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and the University for Development Studies have developed technologies to help store and preserve farm produce but farmers continue to abandon and or fail to patronize such technologies whiles their produce continues to perish over the years. Some of the technologies include Zero Energy Cooling Chamber, Smoke Dryer, Shading and Cabinet Storage System, which have been proven to be efficient in storage and preservation of perishable produce, amongst other fruits, vegetables and tubers. This came to light at a day’s regional forum on post-harvest loss management in Tamale on Wednesday organized by the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) in partnership with Northern Development Society (NORDESO) as part of the Voices for Change Partnership programme (V4C). The forum, which brought together representatives from research institutions, civil society organizations and farmers, was to deliberate on issues of post-harvest losses and to chart a path to holistically address the situation in the Region. The V4C is implemented by SNV through some local partner NGOs to amongst others highlight issues of food and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene and energy. Mr Christopher Akai, Regional Officer, Plant Protection and Regulatory Services, Northern Regional Department of Agriculture, who represented the Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture at the forum, urged research institutions to consult farmers before developing technologies to enable them to adopt them to preserve their produce. Mr Akai, who made a presentation on post-harvest losses in the Region, the realities, challenges, and government policies, programmes and plans in managing post-harvest losses in the country, advised research institutions to take farmers’ practice and modernize it to suit their practice to enable them to adopt it. Mr Salifu Saeed, Northern Regional Minister, said government was working to build warehouses in each district across the country as part of efforts to tackle post-harvest losses in the country. Engineer Dr Linda Dari, Lecturer at the Department of Food Science and Technology, University for Development Studies, suggested a value-chain system of farming where farmers secured market before production to manage post-harvest losses in the country. Mr Mateen Alhassan, Northern Regional Focal Person of Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana also reiterated the need for research institutions to consult farmers on how to develop technologies for storing produce to enable them to adopt them. Mr Eric Banye, Country Coordinator of V4C, called for farmer-friendly financing to lessen the burden on farmers saying this would make farming lucrative and attractive to all.