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Regions In Northern Ghana Lose some 80% Of Yam Yearly, CSIR – SARI

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The Upper West, Upper East, Savannah, North East and Northern Regions lose between 20 to 80 percent of yams produced while recording another 10 to 40 percent loss of all vegetables produced. The regions also lose about 15 percent of the maize produced to Post Harvest Loses (PHL). That’s according to the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research; Savannah Agricultural Research Institute, (CSIR-SARI).

Post – Harvest Loss is defined as a reduction in quality and quantity of agricultural produce. Along the value chain; that is from farm to table, PHL can occur.

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The Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) – West Africa estimates that for a crop like Yam which is popular across the five regions of the North, between 2.06 and 3.05 percent of PHL happens at the Harvesting stage.

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At post harvesting, 2.84 – 9.07 percent of the value of yams are lost. From transport to the storage of the yams, ReSAKSS states farmers lose between 0.8 – 12.5 percent.

In areas of storage, transport and distribution farmers lose between 4.9 and 19, 3.11 and 4.08 and 1-4 percent of their yams respectively. This brings it to farmers losing between 14.7 and 47.7 of the yam they produce.

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The situation is no different for crops like rice, cassava, maize cowpea and groundnuts among others. In view of these devastating effects of PHL on the pockets of farmers and the strain on the national economy due to huge imports of agricultural produce, stakeholders in the agricultural sector have over the years been brainstorming on how to effectively deal with the situation in a cost effective way that farmers could also afford to stay in business.

Over the years, successive governments have initiated policies aimed at addressing PHL through FASDEP I and II. FASDEP 1 and II were operationalized through the Medium Term Agricultural Sector Investment Plans (1, II and III).

METASIP III ended in 2017 with plans to redesign it into different forms with the aim to revamp the Agricultural Sector and to address PHL.

Other programmes have been introduced including government’s flagship programmes: the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), One-District-One-Warehouse and the Ghana Commodity Exchange. In many cases, quantitative and qualitative loss occurs earlier in the chain before these interventions.

In providing solutions to the issues of PHL, any intervention that does not take into consideration private sector participation, cost effectiveness and gender inclusion, may not be sustainable. It is the reason why stakeholders of the agricultural sector are excited about this new development.

It offers the opportunity to go beyond making policies, to making real change and impact for smallholder farmers in rural Ghana. Being the first of such platforms to be set up in the country, the possibilities remain endless as are the challenges.

How members are able to surmount the challenges they would encounter would determine the impact they would make and how much they could reduce PHL in the Upper West Region.

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