The Upper West Regional Deputy Minister, Mr Issahaku Amidu Chinnia, has impressed upon stakeholders to contribute their quota in fighting post-harvest losses to guarantee food security and help increase income of farmers for improved living standards.
The incidence of post-harvest losses has become a major challenge confronting local farmers in the region, largely made of peasant farmers and cost crop growers millions of Ghana cedis every year.
Mr Chinnia said food security remained a priority of the government, which had accordingly recruited over 3000 Agriculture Extension Officers to support and educate farmers on best farming practices including; management of post-harvest losses.
He was speaking during the Second Upper West Regional Post-harvest Loss Forum in Wa, where several stakeholders in the agricultural sector gathered to deliberate on the topic: “From policy to practice, realising the socio-economic benefits of addressing post-harvest loss”.
It was organised by Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) in partnership with Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV).
Under the One District One Warehouse initiative, Mr Chinnia, said the government had commenced the construction of seven warehouses to help store farm produce to manage post-harvest losses.
He cited one of the major causes of post-harvest losses in the region as poor road networks, saying that when farmers produced their crops in the rural areas “they find it difficult to carry the products to urban areas for marketing”.
“Unfortunately, the roads are so bad that, it is difficult for farmers to get trucks to transport their products to market places and even if they get trucks, the cost of transportation increase eventually affects their [farmers] profit margin”.
Mr Frederick Domah Vuozie, the Upper West Regional Environment Desk Officer, said there was the need to echo the message of post-harvest loss to farmers ahead of the farming season.
“The most important crops we produce such as Rice, Maize, Groundnut and others recorded the highest post harvest loss according to statistics because of their nutritional level,” he said.
Even though statistics show that Upper West is the least when it comes to post-harvest losses among the three regions in northern Ghana, the stakeholders, believed “it does not give room to relax”.
Mr Ibrahim Akalbila, the Coordinator of GTLC, highlighted the importance of the forum to help come up with innovative ideas to overcome or at least mitigate post-harvest losses.
He said it was to address challenges, build understanding on post-harvest loss of various crops and boost commitment to invest in post-harvest loss management technology in the Upper West Region.