Mr Eric Banye, the Country Programme Coordinator of the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), has called on farmers to resort to the traditional method of food storage and limit the use of chemicals that are hazardous to the health of consumers.
He said the use of traditional food storage facilities such as silos were safer and cost effective for to consumers and farmers respectively, adding that high illiteracy rate coupled with lack of knowledge on appropriate chemical usage has made the chemical storage method dangerous.
Mr Banye said this during a durbar of traditional leaders, Heads of Departments, farmer groups, Civil Society Organisations among others at Dorimon in the Wa West District of the Upper West Region.It was held to sensitise the community members on the need to ensure good farming and storage practices to help minimise the incidence of post-harvest losses and improve sustainable nutrition.
The durbar, which was organised by the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC), forms part of the implementation of the five-year Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ funded “Voice for Change Partnership (V4C)” project through the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Mr Banye said post-harvest losses which resulted from multiple factors including poor agronomic and storage practices led to food insecurity, malnutrition and poor growth among children.“Small scale farmers gather their farm produce but they go bad due to poor agronomic practices and poor storage facilities which in turn affect the quality of the produce and reduce their nutritional value”, he said and called on farmers to ensure good agronomic and storage practices.
He said there is the need for effective collaboration between community leaders, government, CSOs and farmers among others to help arrest the challenge of post-harvest losses among farmers.Mr Stephen K. Yelsung, the Upper West Regional Extension Officer, said government has put in place measures to help reduce the menace of post-harvest losses among farmers.
He said government, with support from the European Union, was working to improve road networks, provide irrigation and storage facilities for farmers across the country.Mr Yelsung said government has provided four storage facilities for farmers at Sombo in the Nadowli District, Ermon in the Lawra District, Yaga in the Jirapa District and Gowlu in the Sissala West District under the Northern Rural Growth Project to minimise the high incidence of post-harvest losses.
Mr Joseph Kambuna, the Wa West District Director of Agriculture, said government had provided farm inputs such as fertilizers and insecticides for farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme and urged the farmers to ensure the proper application of those inputs for their own benefit.