Post – Harvest Losses create poverty and food insecurity

Bolgatanga, Her worry was not only how drastically she reduced the prices of her watermelon to be able to sell fast, but the fear of rapid deterioration even at the low price as she towed the fruits around the market square.

Asana Amadu, a farmer in Bawku in the Upper East Region became worried as the income and proceeds from the sales will not be able to settle debts she owed the village input supplier.

As she steps and walks over the remaining rotten produce hailed by flies, her pride as a watermelon farmer waned.

Fruit farming in Ghana as well as the production of staple foods such as maize, millet, cowpea, groundnuts and tomatoes suffer challenges of post- harvests losses.

Mr Emmanuel Woolingdool, the Policy Officer of the Ghana Trade and Livelihoods Coalition (GTLC) in an interview with the Ghana News Agency the perishable nature of tomatoes and especially the way it was transported from the farms to the markets, packed in trucks under the scorching sun for two or three days, left much to be desired.

He noted that post- harvest losses in tomatoes contributed to loss of income of market women and farmers because the old system of packing exposed the produce to the weather.

Agriculture contributes substantially to the economic growth of Ghana and employs about 40% of the total population of the country. While agricultural productivity has traditionally and increasingly received greater attention, the reduction of post-harvest food losses is a critical complementary means of increasing food availability.

The cost of preventing food losses is in general less than the cost of producing a similar additional amount of food of the same quality.

Though agriculture remains the largest employment sector, for many farmers like Ms Amadu, post-harvest losses would continue to plague them.

When farmers are unable to store produce after harvest, they are obliged to sell it immediately after the harvest at low prices, thereby unable to make profit and in some cases incur heavy losses that contribute to poverty.

Limited processing facilities further worsen the plight of watermelon farmers and other crop farmers. They continue to use the traditional methods of storage including the use of ash and sand.

However, it is estimated that farmers lose about 56 per cent of their harvested produce from the farm gates because of how they are dried and stored.

For maize, some few warehouses are available to support farmers with storage facilities through Public Private Partnership, such as WIENCO, Suppliers of Fertilisers, but they are only dotted in specific areas with a few farmers benefiting.

Generally beyond the loss in quantity, there is also loss in quality, forcing communities not to patronise the damaged grains destroyed by insects, worms, parasites and birds.

Xxxx (Which source is this statement) Yields of most crops over the years are generally low and have remained almost constant between 2002 and 2016. Agricultural productivity has generally been low principally due to the over reliance on erratic rainfall, and low-performing irrigated systems; low level of mechanisation, and high post-harvest losses that make agriculture unprofitable and unattractive to the youth.

Xxxx (Official source) Food insufficiency resulting from post- harvest losses affect most communities in Ghana and the annual impact leads to poor diet and malnutrition.

Post- harvest loss in groundnuts cannot be underestimated. According to experts, aflatoxins contamination in groundnuts, cause health risks though in many instances the produce serve as a major food complement especially in the northern part of the country for children and adults. A huge loss culminates from poor germination, poor harvesting and poor storage leading to the development of fungi and toxins with high exposure to unsafe food consumption.

Therefore the problem of post harvest losses need to be given serious attention if nutrition, particularly reducing stunting, which affects 19 per cent of children under five years, is to be addressed.

The fact that families have to bear the rising cost of food prices in the market when harvest is low put the vulnerable farmers and the entire population at risk.

Xxx Ghana is said to lose about 20 to 50 per cent of all vegetables, fruits, cereals, roots and tubers produced each year, after harvest. In the Upper East Region alone 13, 000 tonnes of maize was lost in 2016 according to experts. (Can you name some of them to make the story solid?)

Though Ghana is doing well towards zero tolerance for hunger by 2030, these gains will be short lived if attention is not placed on promoting Sustainable Agriculture and addressing post- harvest loss. Policy makers need to put more emphasis on addressing the issue to ensure food sufficiency.

Xxxx (According to which source) As the world’s food requirement is expected to increase by 70 per cent in 2050, in anticipation to feed an estimated 9 billion projected population, farmers need to be equipped with the necessary skills to be able to produce to meet demand.

It is when farmers have enough to sell and make profits that they can provide other needs for the family.

From the Agro Policy Performance Barometer (APPB) report 2016 , a flagship report of the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC), an assessment of the Medium Term Agriculture sector plan (METASIP) implementation raised concerns that government agencies including the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) that have the mandate to ensure good return on investments, increased food security and job creation as a reflection of Ghana’s Food Policy to be doing very minimal in terms of investments in the Agricultural sector to reduce post- harvest losses.

The report showed low investments in the sector in addressing the challenges of food production and indicated that though a budget of GH355.14 million was earmarked in 2016 for the agricultural sector, the actual expenditure was GH181.29 million. Of that amount, GH164.24 million was spent on poverty focused expenditures such as fertilizer subsidy programme and the establishment of Agricultural Mechanization service centres to boost production.

The low productivity in the agriculture sector has major implications for food and nutrition security in the country. The METASIP, (2011�2015), also indicated that the country continued to experience deficits with regard to rice, maize, sorghum, and millet availability, resulting in the need for food import to make up for the cereal production shortfall.

Due to these looming problems, SNV, a Netherlands Development Organisation and a non-profit, international development organisation and its partners are implementing a programme dubbed Voice for Chanage (V4C) partnership Programme.

One of its components seeks to increase food and nutrition security and incomes of smallholder farmers, especially women through a sustained engagement with government and the private sector to improve service delivery and increase investment in post-harvest management.

It is for this reason that the Municipal and District Assemblies need to critically consider post harvest losses in the context of the whole agricultural value chain from the farm gate, farm centres and communities and storage.

To sum up, Mr Woolingdool said training farmers in the right application of chemicals, observation of proper farm sanitation and drying techniques are critical in addition to ensuring good roads to the farm gates.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Read More >Post – Harvest Losses create poverty and food insecurity

FAO appeals for resilient rural households to stem migration

Accra, 16 October, World Food Day, wake-up call for a global response to the current migration challenge.

Migration, if managed in a humane and orderly way, can contribute to the economic growth in destination and countries of origin, declared Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, as the global community commemorated World Food Day on the theme Change the Future of Migration- Invest in Food Security and Rural Development.

We can end migration of all forms by addressing the root causes, create better conditions and resilient livelihoods for rural communities in Africa, he added, addressing the government officials, diplomatic corps, civil society organizations, young people and the media gathered for the ceremony in the Ghanaian capital city.

Mr. Tijani praised the Government of Ghana for initiatives to stem migration in rural communities, such as the recently launched Planting for Food and Jobs, and underlined that migration should be a choice, not a necessity.

Ghana’s Minister of State at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr Nurah Gyiele, emphasised that programmes of the Government of Ghana, such as the the Planting for Food and Jobs, One District One Factory, One Village One Dam, and Rural Infrastructure for Poverty Reduction Programme are meant to enable conditions for the creation of job opportunities in rural communities.

He identified some causes of mass drift of people from rural areas as rural poverty, farming insecurity, unemployment, natural resource depletion, conflicts, poor governance and political instability.

Investing in sustainable development

World Food Day is a chance for FAO to show its commitment to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 � to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. It is also a day to celebrate the progress FAO has already made towards reaching zero hunger.

The United Nations Residence Coordinator in Ghana, Christine Evans-Klock, commended Ghana for adopting a comprehensive National Migration Policy in 2016, which she said would address some of the root causes of migration.

Indeed, more investment in agriculture and food security is a sure way to change the future of migration, she observed.

UN figures show that there are roughly 244 million international migrants, while 763 million migrate within their own countries; 65 million forced migrants of whom about 21.3 million are refugees, 40.8 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and 3.2 million asylum seekers.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Read More >FAO appeals for resilient rural households to stem migration

“Diarrhoea kills fourteen thousand children under five annually” – First Lady

Accra, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the First lady of the Republic of Ghana, has said available statistics indicate that diarrhoea kills about 14,000 children under five years annually in the country.

She said the figure gives cause for worry and called on all to join the forces to intensify efforts at preventing such avoidable deaths.

Mrs Akufo-Addo said this at the commemoration this year’s Global Handwashing Day by Lifebuoy Soap held under the theme, Our hands, Our Future in Accra.

It was organised by the Unilever Ghana Limited to promote the practice of hand-washing with soap as well as foster access to improved hygiene facilities in the country.

The First Lady said her interest in the welfare of children led her to established the Save a child, save a mother campaign aimed at preventing the numerous deaths of babies at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.

Through the enormous support I received from individuals and organisations, work is progressing steadily on the project, she said and thanked Unilever Ghana Limited for contributing generously to the caurse.

She expressed satisfaction with Unilever Ghana’s resolve to support caurses that serve the interest of children by initiating earlier the Social Mission to help a child reach five and the High5 for handwashing � Give us a high5 and we’ll teach 5 kids handwashing to mark this year’s Global Handwashing Day.

Globally Lifebuoy is targeting 200,000 High5s this year with the objective of highlighting awareness about its commitment to handwashing with soap under running water before breakfast, lunch, dinner, after visiting the toilet and during daily bath.

Mrs Akufo-Addo said significance of children’s hands to their health and for that matter their future cannot be understated, saying, it is important that we as adults educate them to wash their hands, not with just water but with soap under running water.

She announced that the Rebecca Foundation would be partnering the Unilever Ghana Limited in providing free Veronica buckets and soap to all schools to encourage handwashing at all levels.

Mr Ziobeieton Yeo, Managing Director of Unilever Ghana Limited, said October 15 was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly as a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

He said they decided to commemorate the day two days earlier because the actual day falls on a Sunday.

Mr Yeo said Unilever Ghana found it worrying that although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands.

Even when there is available, it is sometimes reserved for laundry and bathing instead of for handwashing. Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively than doing so with only water, he added.

Mr Yeo said without a doubt, protection of health and wellbeing of people is a priority for Unilever, we meet every day needs for nutrition; hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life.

He announced that Unilever Ghana Foundation, recently handed over seven newly constructed hygiene stations to selected basic schools within the Tema metropolis at a total cost of GH800,000.00 to help enhance the sanitation and hygiene needs of Ghanaians.

It is estimated that over 3,800 pupils and additional 6,500 community members would benefit from the facilities.

Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, commended Unilever for the tremendous support for children.

She said the Ministry’s mandate involves the promotion of the survival and development of children and ensuring their rights through the help of stakeholders such as Unilever Ghana Limited.

Madam Djaba announced that the Ministry is initiating a partnership scheme with Unilever Ghana Foundation to achieve the goal of reaching out to children to protect them from diseases and urged other private entities to join hands with them to achieve the goal.

Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Minister for Education, in a speech read on his behalf, said Unilever Ghana’s support would go a long way to reduce absenteeism in the country’s schools significantly.

He said one of the key constraints of hand washing in most rural communities schools is the affordability of soap and thanked Unilever Ghana for providing free Lifebuoy soap and Veronica Buckets to schools and reaching over two million pupils with the School of 5 Programme.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Minister of Health, pledged the Ministry’s support to achieve the target of 200,000 High5s this year and urged all health workers to join the effort at their facilities.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Read More >“Diarrhoea kills fourteen thousand children under five annually” – First Lady

First Lady launches supplement programme to improve girls’ nutrition Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo CHPS

Accra, As part of efforts to reduce the high prevalence of anaemia among girls, First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has launched the Girls’ Iron and Folic Acid supplementation (GIFTS) programme, at Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region.The GIFTS programme, initi… … Read More >First Lady launches supplement programme to improve girls’ nutrition Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo CHPS