The agricultural sector holds the largest share of the economically active work force in Ghana. An estimated 48.5% of Ghanaians are reported to be engaged in the sector with the crop subsector engaging about 95.1% of those engaged in the agriculture. It is regrettable however to note that 30% of farm produce are lost annually to post-harvest losses (MoFA, 2014).
Bryan Acheampong Foundation (BAF) provided support to some Farmer-Based Organizations (FBOs) to improve production of maize during the 2018 major cropping season in the Kwahu East district. BAF in collaboration with the Kwahu East Department of Agriculture provided training on “Post-Harvest Handling of Maize” to alleviate crop losses and increase incomes of farmers.
The programme started on the 10/10/2018 and ended on the 22/10/2018. The training covered ten communities. These include Pepease, Nkwatia, Aduamoa, Kotoso, Nteso, Ankoma, Akwasiho, Suminakese, Yaw Tenkorang, and Hweehwee.
Farmers were trained on the under-listed topics
- Overview of the Agricultural Sector in Ghana
- Post-harvest management of maize
- Importance of post-harvest management
- Post-harvest activities
- Effects of poor post-harvest management
- Primary processing of Maize
- Primary storage of maize
- Methods of treating maize for storage
- Practical demonstration of the use of hermetic sack for maize storage
The farmers benefitted from the training by gaining sufficient knowledge, skills on general principles and practices of post-harvest of maize and techniques of identifying maturity indices and proper harvesting measures. The importance of classifying and storing and other post-harvest handling practices. Different tools and packaging materials used in maize handling, identifying and managing the major post-harvest diseases and disorders of maize produce and the basic principles of maize storage.
The training was facilitated by Ankoma Nti Daniel – District Agriculture Officer in charge of extension, Management Information System (MIS) – Mr. Ernest Dandi – District Agriculture Officer in charge of Crops – Emmanuel Sasu.
Mr. Akomah Daniel, District Agriculture Officer in charge of extension and an expert in post-harvest losses, commended BAF for assisting farmers in the district to set up demo farms. According to him, post-harvest losses could be traced to a number of factors that took place before harvest.
He said planning activities; site selection and land preparation, planting seeds and cultural practices. This should be the prime concern of all stakeholders and must also be handled carefully before and after harvesting.
He suggested that farmers and other stakeholders in agriculture be trained to have basic knowledge in maize processing technologies which they could implement on a small scale for a start.
Mr. Eric Nyarko Director of Development of BAF emboldened farmers to put all the lessons learnt into practice to ensure good post-harvest management practices all the time to reduce post-harvest losses.
According to the Kwahu East District Director of agriculture, Mr. Isaac Mensah proper handling of maize would produce safe and high quality maize for consumption, which consequently would go to improve the health and household incomes of Ghanaians.
Participants were appreciative of the training they had received and promised to ensure that post-harvest losses will significantly reduced and also that maize produced were safe and of high quality.