‘Apply modern techn. to reduce post-harvest losses’

Prof.Nyarko(left)Director General,GAEC exchanging the agreement document with Mr Samuel Oppong,MCE Agona West.Photo.Ebo GormanThe Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Prof. Benjamin J. B. Nyarko, has urged the utilisation of innovative technologies to reduce post-harvest losses.

According to him, technologies such as radiation processing could improve quality of food products for domestic and export markets.

“The country needs to devise strategies to reduce post-harvest losses of food to improve food security and to increase export earning in the agricultural sub-sector,’’ he stressed.

Prof. Nyarko said this yesterday in Accra at the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Agona West Municipal Assembly for the commission to construct a Gamma Radiation Facility in the Central Region to improve post harvest losses.

The facility to be installed and supervised by GAEC would boost agriculture, agro processing and food exports from the Central Region.

It is expected to disinfect and decontaminate grains and pulses to improve quality and promote long-term storage of fish and meat products, herbs, spices, roots and tubers.

The facility would also delay ripening of fruits and vegetables to facilitate long term storage for export.

The Project Concept involves a Multi-Purpose Irradiator, Co-60 Source, a Dosimetry Unit and Accessories, Modern Silo for Storage of grain and Pack House for holding fruits.

The Director-General indicated that the rate of rejection of expected agricultural products in the European markets as a results of defects in quality called for a national strategy to assist farmers get value for money.

He said the Commission had over the years acquired the needed experience and expertise in the field of radiation processing in areas of agriculture and medicine and urged an increased public private partnership to achieve that target.

“GAEC has the relevant scientific and technical expertise to support the private and other national stakeholders,’’ adding that “the collaboration between the commission and the Agona Municipal Assembly would enhance food production, processing and exports in the country”.

The Municipal Chief Executive of the Agona West Municipal Assembly, Samuel Oppong said the project when completed would accelerate agriculture production as well as create the platform for effective land use.

He appealed to spirited individuals, corporate institutions and diplomatic missions to come to the aid of the area to enable the agriculture sector take its rightful place in the country.

The Member of Parliament for the area, Mr. Charles Obeng Inkoom, commended GAEC for the initiative which he said he was long overdue.

“The success story of the project would help maximise land as well as exhibit that GAEC research activities would eventually help solve the agricultural needs of the country’’.

Mr Abraham Adu Gyamfi, Manager of Radiation Technology Centre of the Commission said the centre, has researched and developed storage pests including wholesomeness of food since 1970.

He said the pilot programme was upscaled in 1994 and the current facility upgraded in 2010 for full commercial activity.

Mr. Adu-Gyamfi urged for closer collaboration between all players in the industry to ensure effective utilisation of the facilities.

By Lawrence-Vomafa Akpalu &
Benedicta Folley

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