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Regional News of Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Source: Samuel Adadi Akapule, Tongo

Farmers in Tongo train on post harvest losses

Smallholder farmers in some selected communities in the Talensi District have been trained on how to reduce Post-Harvest Losses using the Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags.
The technology is chemical-free storage method developed to enable farmers to store a variety of major crop grains including maize, millet, sorghum, beans, wheat among others for more than one year after harvest.One hundred and fifty benefited from the training
The technology helps improve food availability and increase income of smallholder farmers. When using PICS bags, farmers no longer need chemicals to control grain storage pests. It is on record that the technology has helped millions of African farmers dramatically reduce their storage losses.
Speaking to the Ghana Web at the closing ceremony of the one day training, the Resource Mobilization Advisor of the Rural Initiatives for Self Empowerment- Ghana, Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, explained that the purpose of the training was to equip farmers with knowledge and skills to enable them reduce if not eliminate post harvest losses by using the proven and tested PICS bags for storing their grains.
“The training also seeks to inspire farmers to champion the use of the PICS bags among their peers and you as farmers from Gbane, Baare, Tindongo who are fortunate to be the beneficiaries must become the ambassadors of the technology by spreading the technology to the remaining communities to help address the problem of post harvest losses”, the Resource Mobilization Advisor told the farmers.
The Talensi Area Development Programme (ADP) Manager of World Vision Ghana , Mr Frederick Amoanbeng, said his outfit decided to support the training programme because it was in line with World Vision’s strategic objectives of improving household food security, resilience, health and nutrition status of children and their families as well as improving access and quality of education for children,.
He indicated that it was against that background that World Vision Ghana was organizing a series of programmes and capacity building with various actors and stakeholders to equip them with the needed skills to better deliver their mandate to create a better world for children
“Farming is the mainstay of the Tongo communities, with majority of them deriving their livelihoods from farming activities. A significant number of inhabitants also engage in subsistence farming as a means of addressing their household nutritional needs. Reducing post harvest losses will therefore significantly increase household income and nutrition. The PICS bags will also ensure that households in general and children in particular have access to quality chemical-free meals thereby reducing health risks”, the ADP Manager added.
Mr. Thomas Bering of Gbani , one of the farmers indicated their willingness to adopt the technology because it would help them save money as it was cheaper than agrochemicals and helps store grains for longer.

Madam Talata Baan of Tindongo, a farmer, pledged to be an Ambassador for the PICS bag and said it would help them better to provide the needs of their children by storing their produce and selling when prices are higher and to save some for feed