‘Adopt irradiation to reduce post-harvest losses’

BY: Yakubu Abdul-Jalil

The Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Professor B.J.B. Nyarko, has recommended that Ghana adopts irradiation process in agriculture to reduce post-harvest losses and improve quality of food products for the domestic and export markets.

Irradiation,he said was the exposure of food to x-rays for the purpose of protecting it from insect or microbial contamination, and providing it with extension of shelf life and delayed ripening.

“Every year the state records about 30-50 per cent losses in agricultural products and that affects the country’s revenue which could be used for its development ,” he said.

Prof. Nyarko stated that the level of post-harvest losses in the country had affected incomes of smallholder farmers and the ability of large-scale producers and exporters to operate at full capacity.

Agreement signed
Prof. Nyarko said this at a collaborative forum in Accra between the GAEC and the Agona Swedru Municipal Assembly (ASMA).
The parties at the forum signed an agreement for an initiative of a gamma radiation facility by GAEC in the municipality.

The facility would prevent food from being infested by insects, being contaminated, delay ripening and also extend its shelf life.

Prof. Nyarko said the project would benefit those in agriculture, agro-processing and export of agricultural produce in the Agona Swedru Municipality and its environs.

The partnership, he further stated, would ensure sustainable and profitable irradiation services that would boost output of farmers and enhance national development.

Support for the project
The Chief Executive of ASMA, Mr Samuel Opong, commended GAEC for the initiative and called on the government and its stakeholders to support in funding the project.

He said the initiative would address the challenges Ghana faced recently in its export of agricultural produce to the European market.