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Govt receives grant to begin study on post-harvest losses

By: Maclean Kwofi
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Participants at the learning event
Participants at the learning event

The government has received GHȼ1.213million grant from Canada to conduct a nationwide study on post-harvest losses in the country.

The outcome is to guide the development of strong solutions to help solve the problem.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has begun a process to engage a consultant to begin the project before the end of the year.

A Director of the Agricultural Engineering Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mr Amatus Deyang, said this at a learning event by Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) in Sogakope.

He stated that the study when completed would help the government to design interventions to address post-harvest losses which had gradually become a thorny issue in the country’s agriculture value chain.

He observed that the process to engage a consultant for the project was currently ongoing and would soon be completed for the project to start before the end of the year.

“Developing a solution to address issues of post-harvest losses is a crucial step to help increase the profit of farmers because the revenue which will ordinarily be lost through the produce going waste will be recovered,” he said.

He explained that the government was taking steps to introduce post-harvest losses’ working groups to also develop solutions to help address issues of post-harvest losses at the national level.

Mr Deyang said in 2008 the government developed a study into the country’s post-harvest situation but with time the study had lost its relevance, hence the need for a comprehensive data to address the situation.

"I am very happy most of you shared data on the post-harvest situation in specific localities in the country but that data is localised; we need a nationwide study to inform government policy,” he said.

Learning event
The participants, who were mainly civil society organisations (CSOs), took turns to share achievements and challenges on the areas the SNV’s five-year funded programme, known as the Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP), intended to address.

The programme focuses on three main sectors: agriculture, energy and water; sanitation and hygiene.

The V4CP is aimed at strengthening CSOs to contribute and advocate an enabling environment for public private partnerships, for the provision of good and affordable services, particularly for low income segments in society.

The Programme Officer of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), Mr Bismark Owusu Nortey, said past and current statistics on post-harvest losses did not augur well for the country because it had major implications for food and nutrition security.

To help address the situation, he said CSOs working within the same area should agree to pursue an advocacy topic for the engagement with the political parties during the election year.

“There is also the need to strengthen initiative for CSOs to collaborate in addressing weak institutional coordination among stakeholders in the nutritional value chain,” he added.

Suggestions
The Head of Programmes of the Grameen Ghana, Mr Mugmin Musah, suggested that the V4CP needed to consider doing district level research into specific priority nutrition and post-harvest losses indicators.

That, he said, should include the adoption of the most cost-effective way of collecting and analysing primary data to support future advocacy work.

“V4CP partners need to prioritise facilitating the establishment of regional and district nutrition technical teams through the regional and district planning and coordinating units.”