A Post-Harvest Loss (PHL) Working Team has been constituted at the East Gonja Municipal Assembly (EGMA) in the Savannah Region to prioritize issues of agriculture and budgeting for the sector to enhance its growth whilst reducing PHL.
The membership of the PHL Working Team comprises representatives from the Departments of Agriculture and Gender, and the Ghana Health Service, aggregators, famers and key Assembly staff to ensure a coordinated inter-agency planning and actions to achieve results.
This was the outcome of a meeting of key decision makers of the EGMA and Shea Network Ghana (SNG), a civil society organization, to assess the EGMA's efforts at implementing its commitments in the area of PHL as captured in its 2018 – 2021 Medium Term Development Plan.
The meeting, held at Salaga on Tuesday, was organized by the SNG as part of its implementation of the Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) programme to reduce PHL and ensure food security and nutrition at the EGMA.
The V4CP is an initiative of the Netherlands Development Organization and the International Food Policy Research Institute with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to highlight issues of food and nutrition, PHL, water, sanitation and hygiene and clean energy.
Mr Alfred Atanga, Acting Director, Department of Agriculture, EGMA, who spoke during the meeting, said members of the PHL Working Team would pool their resources to undertake targeted interventions to improve agricultural production in the area.
In 2018, PHL in rice, maize, cassava, yam and groundnut stood at 35 per cent, 25%, 20%, 29% and 28% in that order at the EGMA, whilst 2017 PHL figures stood at 32%, 26%, 21%, 26% and 30% for rice, maize, cassava, yam, and groundnut in that order.
The figures showed that despite the Assembly's efforts, progress in terms of reduction in PHL was slow hence the need to intensify efforts to arrest the situation to ensure food security and nutrition for all in the area.
There is only one technical officer at the Department of Agriculture at the Assembly, who provides extension services to farmers in the area, and he is unable to reach most farmers in the area, a situation, which affects improved agricultural production.
Mr Atanga said the Department of Agriculture at the Assembly would intensify its public education campaigns on good agronomic practices and PHL to ensure that farmers adopted the right techniques to reduce PHL while increasing productivity.
Mr Mohammed Rufai, East Gonja Municipal Coordinating Director, called on community members to take active interest in the activities of the Assembly to reduce PHL to ensure sustainability.
Miss Grace Ayijunu, Project Manager in-charge of V4CP at SNG called for commitment amongst members of the PHL Working Team to help reduce PHL as well as ensure food security and nutrition.