Adopt Appropriate Technologies To Reduce Waste — Farmers Advised

small-scale farmersLack of awareness and adoption has inhibited technology uptake among farmers in the agriculture value chain, making it difficult to reduce post-harvest losses, a research by the Economy of Ghana Network (EGN) has shown.

Small scale farmers have, therefore, been urged to adopt appropriate technologies to reduce waste and spoilage to ensure food sufficiency in the country, as well as improve upon their income levels.

Presenting a paper on ‘Critical issues in agricultural waste and spoilage’ at a workshop in Accra, Dr Irene Egyir,Senior Lecturer, Economics and Agribusiness Department of the University of Ghana, said demand for technology should be aligned with supply, adding that farmers should adopt appropriate technology to reduce spoilage and waste.

The objective of the workshop was to share the findings of the research conducted by the Agriculture Thematic Area of the network which was attended by academia, policy makers, students and various stakeholders of the agricultural value chain.

The ENG conducts research and provides an e-based platform that seeks to bring together disparate discussions on the economy of Ghana in 12 thematic areas.

She said although technologies had been developed to help farmers to reduce post-harvest losses, issues of affordability and awareness militated against its adoption by the small scale holders.

She said one third of food produced did not reach the intended consumers due to biological factors such as microbial attacks and physical factors such as the use of rudimentary methods of production and socio-economic factors.

Making reference to the African Green Revolution Forum report, Dr. Egyir said the world needed adequate food to feed on, stressing that two million more people would be added to the population in the next two decades.

In another presentation, J.K Boamah, Director, Agricultural Engineering Service Directorate, University of Ghana, Legon, noted that post harvest losses affected all areas of the production chain from harvesting, handling, storage, processing to packaging and transportation.

He said documented information indicated that about four billion dollars was lost every year in Africa as a result of post-harvest losses, which should be reduced by use of efficient technologies and marketing system.

The Director of the Agricultural Engineering Service Department said lessons learnt in Ghana showed that the agric sector had struggled to access funds due to the perception of the sector as high risks with modest return.

“The government, together with development partners, has made several interventions aimed at helping farmers access modern machinery and technology to reduce post harvest loss,” Mr Boamah added.

He called for more dialogue among the ministry, private sector and the academia to identify the problem and work earnestly towards solving the problem.

In his presentation, Godfried Antwi, also of the University of Ghana, said the adoption of improved par boiling vessel boosted the incomes of rice farmers by more than GH¢600, as compared to the traditional method that depended on fuel and came with disadvantages, including rice getting burnt during the process.

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

 

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