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Farmers urged to help mitigate effect of post-harvest losses

Farmers have been urged to do more to mitigate the negative effect of post-harvest losses to prevent food insecurity.

Professor Osei-Agyemang Yeboah, an Economist and Social Scientist at the North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University, said achieving food security in African countries would be far-fetched if post-harvest loses were not checked and farmers continued the old practices of storage.

‘During the first few months after harvest there is food availability resulting in low prices, but later the farmers themselves become net buyers,’ he said, and urged them to increase profit through value addition to the produce.

Prof Yeboah said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after more than 1,000 farmers were trained in agribusiness in the Karaga District of the Northern Region and Tempane, Garu and Binduri districts of the Upper East Region.

The training is under an ongoing project: Cultivating Productivity and Resilience to Mitigate Food Insecurity in West Africa and supported by
the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

It is coordinated by the 1890 Universities Centre of Excellence for Global Food Security and Defense, USA, North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Savannah Agriculture Institute, Ghana.

The Project aimed at using new technologies of production with components of building skills of farmers in marketing, budgeting and business management to improve food security in some African countries.

Prof Yeboah, who is in Ghana as the team lead trainer for Sub-Saharan Africa, called for strengthened efforts and interventions to reduce food insecurity in northern Ghana.

He said the USDA was committed to providing technical resources to achieve both food and nutrition in Africa.

Dr Issah Sugri, the Project Coordinator in Ghana, said the USDA had since 2012, supported projects on appropriate storage technologies to achieve longer shelve life.

The project also introduced farmers to fertilizer managemen
t, soil and water management practices, and inter-cropping to reduce the effect of climate change on farm productivity, he said.

For the last three years, the activities focused on introducing farmers into Agribusiness and mind-shift to make farmers consider agriculture as business and not just a livelihood activity.

He advised that each crop cultivated or animal reared must be seen as a separate enterprise and records kept on them to help the farmer to determine which one brought good returns so as to decide which enterprise to concentrate on.

Source: Ghana News Agency