Small-scale farmers and Agriculture Extension Agents (AEAs) in the Wenchi Municipality of the Bono Region have been introduced to improved harvesting and post-harvest management practices to help improve agricultural productivity.
The selected 90 participants were taken through vigorous field demonstration exercises, including observing appropriate harvesting period and techniques as well as improved storage and preservation mechanisms in order to maintain high quality standards to meet befitting market price. They were also schooled on how to use electronic weighing scales. The trial crops included maize, cowpea, groundnut, cassava and yam. The exercise took place at the Wenchi Agriculture Station at Wenchi in the Bono Region.
It was the third phase (maturity stage) of the ‘Enhancement of Crops Demonstrations at Agricultural Stations’ to showcase some released crop varieties to farmers. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) sponsored intervention is in support of the implementation of the government’s flagship programme ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ initiative. Similar exercises were held at other Agriculture Stations- Babile in the Upper West, Manpong in Ashanti, Kpeve in Volta and Asuansi in Central Regions.
During the initial stages (first and second phases) of the demonstration exercises, the farmers and AEAs were introduced to improved crop varieties and skills development, particularly planting techniques to enhance productivity, and practicalities in applying recommended weedicides and fertilisers among others.
The lead facilitator who is also the Acting Manager of the Wenchi Agriculture Station, Emmanuel Owusu Poku, described the outcome of the three-phase demonstration work as “impressive”, indicating that managers at the Station were waiting for recommendation from authorities at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to release the said improved crop varieties to farmers for commercial production.
He advised farmers to embrace best harvesting and post-harvest practices so as to preserve the quality of food produce through storage period to warrant competitive pricing. He added that adherence to best post-harvest management will also help them to meet the standards of institutions like the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) positioned to rescue farmers from the perennial post-harvest losses.