The government of South Korea has released 55,000 US dollars to Ghana, for a three-year project to support the fight against post-harvest losses in horticulture produce.
This brings to $ 100, 000 the total amount of money South Korea has released to Ghana to combat the post-harvest losses in horticulture produce, with the first being $45,000 for the 2015 to 2018 project.
This follows reports that Ghana loses about 50 per cent of its horticulture produce due to lack of technology, infrastructure and proper packaging and marketing.
It came to light at the second phase of an evaluation meeting of 15 African countries on ‘Development and Application of Post-Harvest Handling Model for Horticultural Crops Project’.
The three-year project, under the care of Korean-Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI) in collaboration with the Crop Research Institute of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CRI), is to ensure the reduction in the post-harvest losses in horticulture to the barest minimum in Ghana and the participating countries.
The countries include; the Comoros, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Morocco, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
According to the Principal Investigator of the KAFACI horticultural post-harvest project in Ghana, Dr Evelyn Adu-Kwarteng, farmers in Ghana are losing almost half of their produce, especially tomatoes, of which Ghana imports 70,000 tonnes per year from other countries.
She mentioned that tomatoes have been specifically selected for the second phase of the project, which would provide opportunity to reach out to farmers to show them production technology that reduce diseases on the field which affect the rate of deterioration in the market, and also to improve the seeds.
Dr Adu-Kwarteng said the focus would be on pre-harvest factors that have a bearing on post-harvest and that the Council for Scientific Industrial research and the Crop Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) was working on a pilot programme at Agogo with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture staff and extension officers in the district to reach out to farmers.
Mr Simon Osei Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister, was worried that food and vegetables were been wasted due to improper storage, packaging and transportation.
He, therefore, touched on government’s determination to tackle the post-harvest menace as part of its agenda to modernise agriculture aimed at ensuring food security in the country.
The Regional Minister said the government had selected some produce to incorporate post-harvest activities including storage, transportation, processing, packaging and distribution to boost the private sectors.
Professor Paul P. Bosu, Deputy Director-General of CSIR, noted that globally, post-harvest losses is estimated at 30 per cent and that Ghana needed to do all it could to fight the menace to boost food security in the country.
Dr Moses Brandford Mochiah, Acting Director of CSIR-CRI, attributed post-harvest losses to improper harvesting, transportation and distribution, and as such, scientists in Ghana are working assiduously to tackle the issue and thanked the government of South Korea for the support.
FROM KINGSLEY E. HOPE, KUMASI