GHANA – Rice farmers in Ghana have lamented a lack of post-harvest handling technologies, particularly mechanical driers leading to increased loss of their produce and a threat to food safety.

The farmers are part of a 3000-hectare government rice farming project at Akuse and Asutuare, under the Kpong irrigation project and a subsidiary of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority.

According to them, the lack of these crucial needs is compelling them to use their feet to dry rice, which is compromising the safety and quality of the grain.

Mr Samuel Evans Lamptey, the Project Manager of the Kpong Irrigation Project, said mechanical dryers were the solution to stop the use of bare feet to dry the rice, adding that the entire rice farm project had no dryers.

He said the farmers used to hire a dryer from a private company, which, unfortunately, had stopped operating now.

Mr Eric Teye Martey Tsu, a farmer and aggregator, told the Ghana News Agency, that they faced a lot of challenges in the rice farming industry, including the lack of drying floors, mechanical dryers, storage facilities, and combined harvesters, leading to huge annual post-harvest losses.

Our major challenge is the lack of mechanical dryers where we are forced under the circumstance to use our feet which affects the grain quality.”

He explained that the rice grain could often lose its quality three days after harvesting without proper drying and said, “These challenges pose a disincentive to the youth who want to go into agriculture.”

 “Everyone farms during the rainy season because rice does well in rain, so all of us harvest at the same time, and drying becomes a problem and if you’re not able to dry, within a few days your grains will begin to germinate again, which leads to a huge loss,” farmers lamented.

Ms. Tawiah noted that the local rice tasted better than that of the foreign and appealed to the government to provide them with dryers to boost the rice industry.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Region Food and Drugs Authority Boss, Ms. Anita Owusu Kuffuor, has cautioned the farmers against using their feet, as it could lead to the contamination of their produce.