Post-harvest management

Post-harvest handling challenges disrupting Planting for Food and Jobs gains

An agricultural profiling and messaging service, Esoko, has observed that post-harvest handling challenges are derailing gains of the Ghana government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.

Esoko has observed that though Ghana had been recording high yields in production for some time, boosted by the PFJ programme, challenges found in the transportation, processing, and storage along the value chain were negating the gains.

Esoko said that had also contributed to fluctuations in food prices across the country which is felt by everyone.

Post-harvest handling

In an interview, Mr. Francis Danso-Adjei, a Content Manager at Esoko, said, when post-harvest management challenges were resolved, the PFJ would contribute immensely to stabilising the prices of food commodities that often fluctuated on the market during off-seasons.

Post-harvest handling, Planting for Food and Jobs
Post-harvest handling of tomatoes in the market

Mr Danso-Adjei noted that overcoming the post-harvest challenge was a shared responsibility between the private sector and the Government.

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He, therefore, urged the government to come up with a well-thought-out policy and provide the needed funding that would support the private sector to address the challenges.

“After production what normally happens is that along the [post-harvest] chain, it goes into the hands of traders, aggregators, and others, and most of these people in the industry are in the private sector.

“So what the government can do is to facilitate the establishment of more warehouses and access to vehicles to enable them [individuals and companies] to buy the produce and find their own storage if they do not have access to the storage from the Government,” he said.

Post-harvest handling, Planting for Food and Jobs
Post-harvest handling of cabbage

Meanwhile, Mr. Bagbara Tanko, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), has indicated that the Ministry had put in place interventions to address the challenges.

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He said the interventions included the establishment of warehouses, procurement of harvesters and other handheld machines, as well as rice milling machines for mechanisation purposes.

Among others, he indicated that the Ministry imported a total of 8,980 units of various machinery and equipment and distributed between 2019 and 2020 to 927 beneficiaries made up of 33 District Assemblies and individuals.

Additionally, there had been the completion of 21 warehouses, which formed part of a total of 80 with the capacity to store up to 80,000 metric tonnes of food items, aimed at ensuring food security in the country.

Mr Tanko said he was confident that those interventions would position PFJ to change the narrative.

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About Esoko

Esoko is an agricultural profiling and messaging service. It is a response to the explosive growth of cellular services in Africa. Managed on the web and delivered via mobile, individuals, agribusiness, government and projects use Esoko to collect and send out market data using simple text messaging.

Esoko has been helping enterprises manage rural communities since 2008. Traditionally focused on content services to farmers, the platform now provides powerful data collection and digitization tools, biometric profiling, analytics, as well as communication services. And we have just introduced additional services like digital credit, insurance, payments, and transaction services.

These services are now delivered in two pathways (1) Data collection and profiling and (2) Service delivery

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So if you’re looking to profile or register people, digitize agric supply chains and social protection programs, conduct GIS mapping, or track inventory or impact, or if you want to engage communities with critical information campaigns like healthcare, agronomic advisories, climate-smart content, weather, nutrition or market information, Esoko’s the way to go!

Esoko began in 2008, providing market prices over SMS to smallholder farmers on development projects. The aim was to see how the emergence of mobile technology in Africa, could improve the lives of rural communities across the continent.

As data collectors, they value good quality data. We also know the challenges faced by data collectors on the field – ranging from agent non-performance to bad data to logistics problems.

The Choice Press is an online news portal that seeks to project what the gallant small-scale farmers in Africa are doing. We basically report on everything that has to do with agriculture and agribusiness, especially in Ghana.
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