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General News of Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Source: GNA

Ghana's post harvest losses hit GH¢700,000 annually

Accra, June 30, GNA - Ghana's post harvest losses hit GH¢700,000 annually due to inadequate post harvest management particularly of perishable produce, Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science a nd Technology stated in Accra on Wednesday.

Ghana losses about 20 to 50 per cent of her fruits, vegetables, root s and tubers and about 20 to 30 per cent of cereals and legumes annually, which has resulted in the country experiencing food insecurity. Ms Ayittey said this at the opening of the African Union Day of Scientific Renaissance celebration in Accra.

The 46th Session of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) now AU instituted the day to reflect on the immense contribution of African scientists to the development of learning, medicine, numeric, social and other fields of human endeavour.

The celebration, under the theme: "Science and Technology for Post Harvest Loss Reduction - The Key to Food Security," seeks to bring to the

fore the significance of how Ghana can lose out on farm produce with po or post-production activities. Ms Ayittey said: "Ghana is still struggling to achieve food security.she produces only 51 per cent of her cereal needs, 60 per cent o f fish requirements, 50 per cent of meat and less than 30 per cent of raw materials needed for the agro-based".

However, she gave the assurance that in spite of the huge post harve st losses, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its

sister institutions had the mandate to provide relevant technologies to reduce post harvest losses. "The Food Research Institute (FRI) has the mandate to conduct applie d research, through laboratory and pilot scale investigations, storage, marketing, distribution and utilisation in order to assist the local food

industries to improve on and diversify their operations," she said. She commended the management of FRI for developing mechanical and so lar dryers to facilitate drying of agricultural produce to extend their shelf

lives. "It has also developed food processing technologies and a number of shelf stable products from highly perishable produce such as cassava, fru its and vegetables," Ms Ayittey added.

She encouraged all relevant institutions, universities, Ministries, Departments and Agencies to collaborate to find a lasting solution to the

post harvest challenges confronting the nation.

Dr A. B. Salifu, Director General of CSIR, condemned attempts by som e individuals and organisations parading as champions of science and technology to organise parallel celebration of the day. "The day of scientific renaissance is a state event and not an event for private individuals or organisations..MEST, CSIR and other allied bodies welcome honest and meaningful contributions by stakeholders in our countr y's science and technology agenda," he said. "However, such contributions must be in the context of augmenting th e core business and efforts of relevant frontline state institutions charge d with pursuing the national agenda. "Science and its deployment for national development are precise and

therefore cannot just be bandied about by any persons or person purportin g to command capability," he stated. As part of the celebration scientific and industrial institutions mounted an exhibition to showcase their achievements and innovations in promoting Ghana's development agenda. 30 June 10