Smallholder farmers in the country still experience as high as 30 percent post-harvest losses, mostly through spoilage and theft, a study titled Smallholder Market Linkages Ghana study has revealed.
It noted that, as a result of their inability to access markets, which leads to losses farmers preferred to sell their produce at the farm-gate.
Mr George Boateng, the Engagement Manager, at the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), who shared the findings of the study during an online validation event, said farmers’ preference was due to high transaction cost incurred on other market channels, convenience, and lower risks of spoilage during transportation.
The study, which sought to identify market challenges faced by smallholder farmers was conducted between July and August of 2019 in eight districts, in eight regions of the country.
He said although the farm-gate sale was the choice of farmers, they lamented that buyers cheated them and also face price volatility.
Mr Boateng said about 40 percent of farm produce not sold was either consumed or given out to neighbors underscoring the challenge of having good storage.
The study, he said found that approximately two-thirds of the farmers had no formal storage and store their produce in their homes.
“Storage is not readily available as the sector is yet to develop.
However, given the scale of operations of many farmers, a business model that can rent small space for storage with complimentary services such as cleaning, drying, packaging and branding is needed,” he added.
Dr George Owusu Essegbey, Chief Research Scientist at the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of the Council of Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) sharing perspective on the report called for the need to for the country to focus more attention to Research and Development (R&D) to address post-harvest challenges.
He explained that with investment in R&D the country could address the majority of the issues from the land preparation, production, post-production process, and to the last mile to ensure food security.
Mr Anthony K. Nyame-Baafi, the Technical Advisor, Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry suggested the need to set up crop insurance for farmers, improve access to financial service, and diversify crop production.
He called for the harmonization of all agriculture support projects to avoid duplication and the development of targeted gender initiatives for women.
Mr Charles Nyaaba, Head of Programmes and Advocacy, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana urged the government to deal with the issue of middlemen.
He supported the study’s call for the involvement of smallholder farmers to be involved in policy formulation to ensure it was in their interest and implemented in a consistent manner.