High post-harvest losses is one of the main constraints for peasant farmers who form the bulk of those engaged in the country’s agriculture sector. Apart from making farming unattractive, it also has the tendency to inhibit efforts at ensuring food security in the country, whiles perpetuating poverty amongst farmers.
Various percentages have been ascribed to this phenomenon but it is safe to say not less than 40% of agricultural produce is lost through post-harvest losses and this has to be addressed so that the toil of the farmer is not in vain.
It is for this reason that when the current political administration came up with a policy to construct a warehouse in every district of the country, it was welcomed with open arms since it was deemed the panacea to the high post-harvest losses recorded each season.
A government constructed warehouse facility, under the One District One Warehouse (1D1W) at Atasikrom in the Dormaa Municipality of the Ahafo Region, has stalled nine months after the construction deadline.
The project, about 98 percent complete, is expected to be used to assist farmers store farm produce as part of the government’s effort to address post-harvest losses; however, for some considerable number of months now, the contractor had ceased working and moved out of the site with all his equipment, bringing the progress of work to a halt.
Sadly, the locality is a maize-growing area and a poultry business center so the demand for maize is very high. We learn that even though the Municipality is a hotbed for maize production, drying maize during the major season becomes challenging for the farmers and the warehouse is to be fitted with a dryer for storage, only to stall and add to the woes of grain farmers there.
During the 2019 major crop season, the municipality recorded production of 29,775.2 metric tonnes of maize and 1,148 metric tonnes of rice, bringing the total production of both crops to 30,923.2 mt.
This came to light during a visit by some members of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) to the facility. Head of Budget, at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Nuhu Ibrahim indicated that the Ministry does not owe the contractor so it becomes puzzling why he has abandoned the project at this stage of completion.
We believe contractors of such major government projects must be compelled to undertake performance contracts so that they can be taken on when they breach the terms of the contract. Such actions only go to hurt farmers most.
We call on MoFA to take up the issue more seriously since it amounts to causing financial loss.