Africans urged to take post-harvest losses serious

Professor William Otoo Ellis, Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has urged African Governments to give priority to addressing the problem of post-harvest losses.

Post-harvest grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa, every year, are estimated by both the World Bank and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) at US$4 billion.

The lost food could meet the minimum annual requirement of about 50 million people in the region.

Prof Ellis, speaking at a training programme to promote effective post-harvest management of maize, rice and legumes in Kumasi, said it was time more energy and effort was put into cutting down the losses.

He said there was the need to invest in technology, research and training to assure the continent of food sufficiency.

The present situation, he stated, was worrying given the fact that maize, rice and legumes were the main staple foods in the region.

The programme is being held under the Second Australia Awards-African Fellowship Training, a project, which is part of the Australian Government’s broader development assistance to build the capacity of Africans to tackle food security concerns.

The week-long training is being attended by agricultural officers and researchers from all over Africa.

Prof Ellis said the programme provided the opportunity for them to critically assess the causes of the food losses and to find workable solutions.

Ms. Emma Walters, the Project Manager, said with the global demand for food projected to increase by about 60 per cent by 2050, it was important to address issues of storage, market access and equitable economic benefits for farmers.

The participants were therefore going to be exposed to appropriate techniques and locally-relevant technologies that would meet the needs of the local communities. GNA

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