To enhance Post Harvest Management in the Agriculture Value Chain, The Department of Agriculture, Ashaiman Municipal Assembly held a workshop solely for the Agriculture Extension Agents (AEAs) and the various NABCO Trainees working under their supervision in the Municipality on Thursday 27th February, 2020.
The workshop started at 11:30am. The main speakers were Mr. Mitchris Chapman Kodam, Management Information System Officer (MISO), and Miss Esther Afrifa, Municipal Crop Officer (MCO).
The first speaker, Mr. Mitchris Chapman Kodam, laid more emphasis on the agriculture value chain, he said, a value chain includes all activities and services required to change a product or service from one state to a more valuable state. He therefore used a value chain overview diagram to explain the flow of product and quality information and also the flow of payments and consumer preference information. He also listed and explain the principles of agriculture value chain. He said the value chains transform product to cash.
Mr. Chapman touched on post-harvest management, he explained post-harvest management by saying, it is the process of making informed decisions and applying various post-harvest activities, technologies and options such as processing, handling, packaging, storing, and cleaning that maintain quality or add to the value of an agricultural product from the field to the end consumer.
He said, these activities may be undertaken by the farmer, farmers groups and or agribusiness companies. He explained the importance of post-harvest management to the AEAs and the need to educate the farmers to adhere to it in order to reduce post-harvest loss. He added that, about 30% of harvested products are loss, depending on the type of crop and geographical location. He elaborated on the average post-harvest loss estimate in most of the crops grown in Ghana. He said it is rather unfortunate that the country loses GHc 486 million in maize alone annually due to post-harvest loss.
Mr. Chapman concluded by encouraging the various AEAs to be more particular about the various causes of post-harvest losses and educate the farmers accordingly since knowing them helps in choosing the appropriate post-harvest management practices.
The second speaker, Miss Esther Afrifa spoke about food safety and hygiene. She said food safety and hygiene is critical to reducing post-harvest loss and adding value to products. She explained that following food safety and hygiene practices can help to produce food that is free from insects, harmful bacteria, and toxins. Miss Esther said unequivocally that, most farmers have been thought about the safe use of pesticides, yet they still abuse them. She used pictorial diagrams and videos to explain these activities carried out by farmers as well as the market women. The pictorial diagram also shows how safety, hygiene, and preservation are commonly compromised along the value chain.
Miss Afrifa advised the participant to use the knowledge acquired during the workshop to educate the farmers and the marketers of the various food products on the need to practice food safety and hygiene.
The workshop came to a close at 1:28pm.
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