Help address post-harvest loss- peasant farmers to parliament

Peasant farmers in the country have appealed to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs to intensify their support to help address issues of post-harvest losses that farmers encounter.

This was after a presentation was made by Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), SNV and other civil society organisations to the Committee on the current state of post-harvest loss in the country and its effect on productivity and livelihoods.

According to the Association’s Programme Officer, Bismark Owusu Nortey, past and current statistics on post-harvest loss among major food crops is not satisfactory, and has major implications for food and nutrition security.

Providing statistics on food losses from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), he cited major crops such as Mango, Tomato, Cassava and Yam as having the highest percentage of Post-Harvest Losses, recording as much as 45.6%, 37.5%, 33.6% and 31.4% respectively.

Other crops such as maize, rice and cowpea recorded 14%, 13.5% and 10% respectively.  He stressed that, the losses are not limited to only food but also all the resources that go into the production of the crop.

He also cited major causes of post-harvest loss which ranges from poor harvesting methods, 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, among others.

He explained that food losses in Ghana are consistently highest at the producer level and attributed that to the inadequate extension service delivery in the country, calling on Parliament, to as a matter of urgency, push for the lift of the ban on recruitment in the public sector, especially in the agricultural sector to recruit more extension agents since the farmer-to-extension-officer ratio is worrisome.

He 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.

Pledging their commitment to help address the challenge, the Chairman of the Select Committee on Agric and Cocoa Affairs, Hon Asafo-Adjei Kwame and MP for Nsuta Kwamang Beposo, appreciated the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and the other CSOs 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; the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Ministry of Local Government and Ministry of Roads to address Post-harvest management constraints in terms of infrastructure, personnel and capacity.

Other committee members who expressed shock at the depressing statistics 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, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana and other CSOs with support from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and IFPRI. Among the CSOs included representatives from Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) and General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU).