Ms Ophelia Koomson, the Birim Central Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), has said there was the need to engage all stakeholders in the food chain to arrest or reduce post-harvest losses in the country, particularly in the Municipality in order to have a sustainable food security.
She noted that reducing post-harvest losses would enable the Government to meet food security by 2015 and also meet the Millennium Development Goal 01 and eradicate extreme poverty.
Ms Koomson, who was speaking at the Municipal’s 29th Farmers and Fishermen Day celebration at Akyem Asene, mentioned some post-harvest activities to include handling of produce, storage, processing, packaging, transporting and marketing.
“We can have a huge loss when perishable food items like vegetables and grains are not properly handled.”
She urged farmers to package food crops in well ventilated containers which were not broken or had sharp edges to prevent bruises being made on them.
The MCE also advised market women not to expose food items to extreme temperatures such as direct sunlight and poorly ventilated storage facility since most perishable goods like vegetables and fruits were easily destroyed.
Ms Koomson indicated that the Government’s intervention in the Municipality in improving food security include the block farming of which 10 bags of improved seed maize and 50 bags of NPK, 25 bags of Sulphate of Ammonia as fertilizers, were sold to farmers at subsidized prices to increase maize and food production
She said 2.5 acres of commercial cassava farms were established at Akyem Akroso and Takrowase and 200 bundles of improved cassava planting materials supplied.
“Distribution of Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP) planting materials for cassava is still on-going in the municipality.”
“A total of 233 farmers were supplied with 2,230 bundles of improved cassava materials for planting in the area to develop into tertiary farms.”
Ms Koomson said under the Inland Valley Rice Development Project, 18 acres of land was currently under cultivation at Oda Nkwanta and Nyame Nti in the Municipality “and we hope to harvest about 39.6 tons of rice this year.”
She congratulated all the award winners and encouraged them to improve upon their farming ventures and made the municipality and the country proud.
In all 15 farmers were awarded with Mr Alfred Adu-Bobi, being adjudged the overall best farmer.
He received a 21 inches colour Television, six cutlasses, a bicycle, knapser sprayer, pair of wellington boots and a certificate as his prize.
Ms Charlotte Baidu was adjudged the best woman farmer and was presented with a gas burner, cutlasses, knapser sprayer, wax prints and pairs of wellington boots.
Meanwhile, Mr Joseph Kweku Owusu, Chairman of the Akyem Oda- Accra- Tema number three branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), had donated two sewing machines towards the farmers’ day celebration with one of the items presented to the best woman farmer.
The rest of the award winners were also presented with various prizes. GNA