The World Food Programme (WFP) last Friday handed over a 300-tonne capacity warehouse to maize farmers in the Ejura-Sekyedumasi municipality in the Ashanti Region.
The warehouse, which is owned by farmer-based organisations (FBOs) in the municipality, will help the farmers store their produce to forestall post-harvest losses.
The facility is fitted with an electric weighing scale, a 50-kg standard test weight, a wiki bag stitching machine, sewing threat, Bakari rodenticide, rodent bait boxes and fumigation sheets.
It also has a grain moisture content meter and other basic equipment that will allow farmers to dry, clean, aggregate and bag bulk for storage.
A nine-member committee was inaugurated to oversee the effective management of the facility.
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The Country Director of the WFP, Ms Rukia Yacoub, said the WFP collaborated with the Ejura-Sekyedumasi Municipal Assembly, the traditional authorities, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and representatives of the FBOs to build the infrastructure to help maize farmers in the municipality.
According to her, the warehouse had the capacity to store 6,000 units of 50-kg bags of grains and “will enable about 900 farmers from 17 FBOs to store their maize under the management of a qualified post-harvest expert warehouse manager”.
Ms Yacoub said the FBOs would no longer be compelled to sell their maize immediately after harvest for want of storage space.
“They will be able to store during the bumper season, so that they get fair prices later in the year,” she added.
She explained that following the successful implementation of one of the WFP’s projects, Purchase for Progress (P4P), in Ejura, the farmers appealed for a warehouse to enable them to formalise the marketing of their grains, “since aggregation has been a challenge which prevented them from selling collectively”.
The P4P initiative helped smallholder farmers to address low crop yields, post-harvest losses and poor market integration in the Ashanti and the Northern regions.
The Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Madam Elizabeth Agyeman, expressed gratitude to the WFP for assisting the farmers with the facility, which, she said, would complement the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.
She added that under the ‘One- District, One-Warehouse’ project, Ejura, which is the second largest commodity market in the country, was benefiting from two warehouses.
According to the minister, due to the success of the PFJ programme, new modules had been introduced this year to expand the scope to cover more areas to improve on the contribution of agriculture to national development.