General News of Fri, 27 Feb 20040

MOFA to check post harvest losses

Cape Coast, Feb. 27, GNA- The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is undertaking a number of interventions to help check post harvest loses in the country.

The Ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Roads and Transport are planning to improve road networks in food producing areas to facilitate the prompt evacuation of food items to consuming and processing areas.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Major (rtd) Courage Quashigah, who said this in a speech read for him at the inauguration of the Central Region branch of the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana, at Cape Coast on Thursday, hinted that about 25 to 30 per cent of the country's agricultural produce is lost through faulty post harvest management.

The 15-member association is under the chairmanship of Mr. John Kwame Mensah, the 1999 National Best Farmer from Edumfa in the Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese District of the Central Region. The Minister said the Ministry was also collaborating with the private sector to process raw food into can food products to be introduced to the Ghanaian market to help minimise post harvest loses and promote price stability.

Major Quashigah said, when post harvest loses are minimised and high quality sustainable and profitable produce was maintained, the President's vision of Ghana attaining an agro-industrialised nation in Africa within the next six years would be possible.

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He said that job opportunities were available in transportation, handling and storage of food products and advised members of the association to make good use of them to enable them to generate extra income.

Mr Philip Abayori, National Chairman of the Association, said the aim of the body was to bring all award winning members together since the establishment of the scheme in 1985, and that they could now boast of a membership 24,000 in the region.

He said plans were underway to set up an agriculture chamber of commerce to link up with other international chambers to facilitate their commercial activities like processing and packaging and also ready export market for farmers.

The Deputy Central Regional Director of Agriculture, Dr William Wiafe asked members to work hard to establish the district branches of the association to make it more formidable and vibrant.

Dr. Prempeh Fiscian, acting farm manager of the University of Cape Coast teaching and research farms, who chaired the function regretted that the linkage between research, extension officers and farmers was weak, and appealed to all stakeholders to support the sector to close that linkage and achieve its goals.

Source: GNA

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