GAEC introduces technology to preserve farm produce
The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has developed a technology that can help preserve agricultural products that ordinarily have short lifespans for a longer period.
Known as Gamma Irradiated Facility (GIF), the technology allows farm produce to be treated through a radiation process which helps prolong their shelf life — between 12 to 24 months.
Under the technology, a fruit like mango, which could go bad in two weeks when harvested, could be preserved for the next 12 to 24 months when introduced to the GIF.
“The good news is that, it is not a chemical and so it does not have any side effect on those who consume the products.
It is just radiation used to treat it and radiation when applied on food does not stay in the food so it is not harmful to the body that consumes it.
“It is harmless. And don’t forget, we have very high quality scientists who will not allow us to do something that will affect the health of the people,” Dr Shiraz Issahaka said.
Dr Issahaku, who is a Senior Medical Physicist of the Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI) of the GAEC, disclosed this to the Daily Graphic after leading a team of health personnel from RAMSRI, GAEC Hospital, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, University of Ghana Medical Centre and the International Maritime Hospital, to conduct a health screening exercise, including breast screening for staff members of the Graphic Communications Group Ltd.
The exercise formed part of the 60th anniversary celebration of the establishment of GAEC.
Take advantage of GIF
Dr Issahaku called on exporters, farmers, vegetable and fruit sellers to take advantage of the availability of the technology and bring their products for preservation.
He said the Biotechnology Institute of GAEC, which was implementing the programme, had so far engaged farmers around Dodowa, Somanya and Apam and introduced the technology to the fruits they harvested, adding that it would be scaled up across the country so that all farmers could take advantage of its introduction.
“That facility that has the ability to preserve agricultural products also has the ability to provide disinfection for hospitals and insulated equipment.
“When you use hospital equipment, you have to throw it away because it is infected but when that equipment is brought to us, we can treat it with the GIF and you can use it,” Dr Issahaku added.
He further said that the National Nuclear Research Institute, which was one of the seven institutes of GAEC, had a technology that was able to detect the water quality of a particular place and, therefore, urged the public to always seek the commission’s professional advice.
Dr Issahaku mentioned projects the other institutes of GAEC were embarking on to include the establishment of a space science observatory, where space monitoring, among others, could be done.