GHANA – Women smallholder farmers in the Northern Region of Ghana have expressed worry over Post-Harvest Losses and the non-availability of management intervention measures.

These concerns come at a time when the country has almost completed preparations to honor its farmers for their contribution to sustaining food security.

The women outlined the non-availability of post-harvest management interventions, which was adversely affecting their active participation in agriculture.

Madam Alhassan Nimatu, a smallholder farmer, who cultivates pepper at Nabela in the Yendi Municipality, told the local media that she had reduced her production size because of the impact of the losses she incurred in the previous year.

“I have personally reduced my six-acre pepper farm to only two acres because I don’t know how to store them for the right market,” she said.

Sanatu Jeremiah, another farmer at Gomdakura in the Mion District, said last year, she harvested 50 bags (100 kilograms) but by the time she sold it in March, barely three months after harvesting, she had lost five bags.

“I nearly accused my rival of stealing my maize because of the losses within three months,” she lamented.

Post-harvest losses have been one of the constraints to improving food and nutritional security in Ghana

Women farmers annually grapple with most of the factors that farmers in northern Ghana encounter, high among them being access to land.

BES Veggie starts PHL intervention scheme

Earlier this year, BES Veggie, an agri-processing startup, set out to address post-harvest losses among smallholder farmers in Ghana by processing perishable vegetables such as tomatoes and pepper into powder form to prolong their shelf lives.

The initiative, which is the brainchild of four young Ghanaian entrepreneurs, sought to provide ready markets for smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods as well as train women and persons with disability to gain employable skills in the agriculture value chain.

It is estimated that one-third of the food produced (about 7. 3 billion tons) worth about USD 1 trillion, is lost globally during postharvest operations every year.

The company in November 2022, embarked on a trial production at Alumadan in the Ashanti Region, where it purchased tomatoes and pepper directly from smallholder farmers and processed them into powder.

The initiative was then birthed with the support of the Kosmos Innovation Center and the MasterCard Foundation.

Mary Nana Ama Agyei, Marketing Manager, BES Veggie, said in an interview that the company was worried about the increasing rates of post-harvest losses among farmers, hence, the initiative.

“We intend to end that problem by buying their produce in large quantities, processing them into powder form to prolong its shelf life. In this case, we minimize the postharvest loss and improve the standard of living of the farmer financially,” Agyei said.

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