Feed the Future and KNUST Launch Locally Produced Tool to Reduce Post-Harvest Loss in Ghana
Ing. Joseph Akowuah, senior lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, demonstrates how to use the PHL moisture meter at an event to launch the locally produced moisture meters.
Kumasi, GHANA—On November 16, 2017, the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss, funded by the United States Agency for International Development, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) launched the Ghana-based production of a low-cost moisture testing meter used to reduce post-harvest losses (PHL) in maize in central and northern Ghana. Through this partnership the PHL moisture meter was developed to provide a low-cost tool to measure moisture content of grains. Both practical and inexpensive, the PHL moisture meter has great potential to reduce post-harvest loss of grain in Ghana and improve food security and livelihoods.
Efforts to start production of the meters in Ghana began nearly one year ago, and this event, which was attended by more than 200 people, marked that accomplishment and celebrated the success of the young KNUST graduates who comprised the assembly team. Leaders from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), KNUST, the Post-Harvest Loss Innovation Lab, and the USDA-funded Assisting Management in the Poultry and Layer Industries by Feed Improvement and Efficiency Strategies (AMPLIFIES) Ghana project, which also supported the development of the meters, spoke at the event. Following the ceremony, a demonstration was held on how to use the PHL moisture meter.
Mr. J. Manu, the Ashanti Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, announced in his remarks that his office would seek to purchase 270 of the PHL moisture meters, 10 for each of 27 districts in the region. He further added support for aligning the meters with the Ghanaian Government’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” Initiative throughout the country.
Members of PHLIL and the PHL moisture meter assembly team present at the launch ceremony. (R-L: Kwabena Adu-Gyamfi, Anne-Marie Esaaba Abeasi, Dr. Enoch Osekre, Isaac Senu Sesi, John Doe, Zakaria Ayatul-Lahi, Joseph Akowiah, Dr. George Opit.)
The PHL moisture meter was designed by Dr. Paul Armstrong, an agricultural engineer at the United States Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) Center for Grain and Animal Health Research in Manhattan, Kansas. Over the last year, Dr. Armstrong collaborated closely with Ing. Joseph Akowuah, a senior lecturer at KNUST, to establish an assembly lab at the university in Kumasi, Ghana. Mr. Akowuah enlisted four engineering graduates from KNUST to operate the lab, and they have successfully assembled the first 50 PHL moisture meters. These young entrepreneurs were involved in every aspect of the meter assembly, from soldering the components to establishing workflow protocol, and developing the user manual.
“The moisture meters will allow maize producers to store their grain more safely and with less loss during storage,” said Dr. George Opit, the principal investigator for the innovation lab's Ghana program and associate professor of entomology at Oklahoma State University, “Their production in Ghana will greatly improve our ability to get them into the hands of users more efficiently and at a lower cost.”
The Ghana Grains Council and the AMPLIFIES Ghana project became the first customers after the PHL moisture meter was given Pattern Approval by the Ghana Standards Authority. The Post-Harvest Loss Innovation Lab wishes to engage a local entrepreneur to start a small business assembling PHL moisture meters for distribution across Ghana. Scaling up affordable and practical post-harvest loss mitigation technologies is one of the key goals of the innovation lab.
The PHL moisture meter assembly team demonstrates the meter to an on-looking crowd at the launch ceremony at KNUST.
About Feed the Future:
Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty, and undernutrition. In Ghana, Feed the Future works to strengthen agricultural research, link farmers to markets, improve the nutritional status of rural communities and increase agricultural productivity. For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.gov.
About the Post-Harvest Loss Innovation Lab:
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss, located at Kansas State University, is a strategic, applied research and education program aimed at improving food security by reducing post-harvest loss in stored product crops, such as grains, oilseeds, legumes and seeds. Learn more at www.k-state.edu/phl.
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