The World Food Programme (WFP) has partnered Manga station of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) in the Binduri district of Upper East Region to introduce a donkey-cart transportation project.
About 1,500 farmers from 5 districts in the region who cannot afford to hire any form of transportation services have been targeted to benefit from the pilot project.
This seeks to reduce post-harvest losses caused by theft, bushfires and rotting of harvested foods on farms and in homes.
At a ceremony to introduce the donkeys and the carts to the beneficiaries at Manga, WFP Country Director, Rukia Yacoub was hopeful that the donkey-cart transportation policy will aid Ghana attain the Sustainable Development Goal 2.
“WFP supports countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2, zero hunger, by saving lives in emergencies and humanitarian crisis, and changing lives in development contexts”, she indicated.
As a means of sustaining the project, the Country Director of WFP said each farmer group has established a committee to monitor the use and care of the donkeys and carts.
“Other women group members will be given foals when the female donkeys litter and so gradually expand the participation”, she added.
Senior Research Scientist at the Manga station of SARI, Dr. Francis Kusi who doubles the Project Director, said post-harvest losses has been a setback to improved crops introduced by his outfit.
He therefore appealed to Global Affairs Canada, funders of the donkey-cart transportation project to scale up the project to other regions.
“CSIR-SARI and the entire project partners are therefore grateful to WFP for accepting the project idea to support the poor women farmers with donkeys and carts as an alternative and efficient means of transport to help minimize post-harvest losses and access to market”, Dr. Kusi said.
Upper East Regional Minister, Paulina Patience Abayage who lauded the traditional way of transporting foodstuff said it will complement government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ program towards improving food security in the country.
Eric Chimsi, a Canadian Development Officer pledged an unflinching support to rural farmers towards reducing post-harvest losses. He called on government to scale up the project in other districts of the country to benefit farmers.