You are here: HomeNews2000 11 07Article 11883

General News of Tuesday, 7 November 2000

Source: GNA

AfDB to assist Ghana process her agricultural produce

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is to offer Ghana a one million-dollar grant to conduct feasibility studies into processing of agricultural produce to increase their value and reduce post-harvest losses, estimated at 30 per cent.

Clement Bugase, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, told GNA in an interview that by the end of the month, AfDB will select one of three consortiums of consultants submitted by Ghana to conduct the studies.

"Processing has not received the needed attention in the past, but it is very important in our efforts to achieve food security. Processing will reduce post-harvest losses, increase the value and shelf life of our produce, earn us higher incomes and create jobs."

The Deputy Minister said: "The present situation is that when we have good rains, especially in the savannah region, harvest is good for major crops like maize and cassava, so their prices fall drastically. However, when weather conditions are bad the next year, harvest is poor, prices escalate and we import."

The studies, Mr Bugase said, will cover the production levels of all agricultural produce, future prospects, local and external market prices, potential for processing and areas where the produce are cultivated.

It will also look at available technology for processing from local and external sources, existing processed products, new products and prices, among other issues, he said. It would be completed in six months.

Ghana produces a wide range of crops including cereals, cashew, citrus, cotton, oil palm and rubber. Bugase said the findings would help farmers, investors and entrepreneurs to take decisions about processing and urged them to utilise the information to their advantage.

"We believe AfDB will sponsor projects based on the findings of the studies because of their involvement," he said.

The Deputy Minister, who is chairman of the National Farmers' Day Planning Committee, said the theme for this year: "Processing Agricultural Produce - the way forward," was selected to draw attention to the importance of processing.

Meanwhile, 61 farmers selected across the country to receive various awards at the celebration at Wa on Friday are touring industries in Tema to observe how some agricultural produce are processed and packaged. The industries include Cocoa Processing Company and Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority.