Mr Hanan Abdul-Wahab, Chief Executive of National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO), has commended efforts by government to provide storage facilities for maize farmers across the country including; Ejura in the Ashanti Region.
Ejura is considered to be one of the best maize production centres in the country.
A statement signed by the CEO and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said works on the construction of two warehouses under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) have reached an advanced stage.
He said their completion would serve as a major booster to guarantee food security and transform the agricultural sector.
The construction of the 2,000-metric ton warehouses will augment the existing storage facilities at Ejura Farms built in 1960s and currently being rehabilitated by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The warehouses being built by the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives under the 1District 1warehouse are fitted with modern equipment, including; freezers and dryers to enable them dry their harvested maize during the raining season.
Mr Abdul-Wahab said the IPEP would also provide basic infrastructure, including; warehouses, markets, water systems and sanitation facilities, as part of the mandate of IPEP to promote socio-economic improvements in agricultural communities.
His comments followed an appeal to government by maize farmers at Ejura Soboline in the Ejura- Sekyedumase District in the Ashanti Region for the provision of storage facilities.
A maize farmer’s group representative, said due to the lack of the storage facilities, their produce went bad and rendered them with losses, but the Buffer Stock CEO maintains, the situation would improve significantly due to government’s interventions.
He explained that the construction of the warehouses in all the districts would not only minimize post-harvest loses, but would also improve the marketing of agricultural produce and help address poor farm-level practices, poor handling, and poor storage activities that exposed farm produce to moulds, rodents and other pests.
“Apart from grains, the warehouses will also promote non-traditional exports. Ghanaian farmers will now be able to store their farm produce in the most efficient and effective manner to enable them export, create employment and earn foreign exchange,” he said.
On lack of ready market for their produce, Mr. Abdul-Wahab said the warehouses would also be certified to enable them participate in the Warehouse Receipting System, being implemented under Ghana Commodities Exchange project, financial inclusion of smallholder farmers.
He said it would aid farmers depositing their farm produces in the warehouses, and use them to address their financial needs in various ways under the Warehouse Receipt System.
The NAFCO boss said his outfit had positioned itself in readiness to purchase food commodities, especially grains during the coming harvest season for both state emergency food reserve and for the food supplies under the Free Senior High School programme.
He hoped that farmers would be offered huge relief at the end of the season.
“Government, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and its allied agencies is committed to reducing the plight of farmers and nothing is being left to chance; the farmers can be rest assured”, he said.
He advised the farmers to liase with NAFCO and the Ghana Commodity Exchange instead of patronising middlemen who may offer them very low prices.