23.07.2004 Regional News

Researcher calls for standardisation of crops marketing

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Takoradi, July 23, GNA- Maize, rice and cassava farmers are losing large amounts of money from the sale of their produce due to the lack of standardisation in the agricultural sector. Dr Peter Y. K. Sallah, the National Coordinator for the Maize Programme, a subsidiary of the Crops Research Institute (CRI) disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Takoradi on Friday.

He said middlemen; food contractors and traders cheat farmers by using what is popularly known as "Bush Weights" to determine the price of farm produce.

The bush weights system is the use of an impoverished measure introduced at farm gates by traders.

These weights are sometimes adjusted to the detriment of the consumer.

Dr Sallah, who is also a maize breeder, therefore called for the introduction of a national standard weight to eliminate unfair practices and ensure that farmers benefited from their labour.

He said several research works had been done in the production of maize for other parts of the country and the CRI would soon begin research into large-scale production of maize in the Western Region. Dr Sallah said the research would consider the rainfall pattern of the region to ensure that the new maize stocks meant for planting were high yielding and nutritionally acceptable.

He appealed to maize farmers, to harvest their produce early and dry them properly.

Dr Sallah cautioned farmers that the continued reliance on local maize and rice instead of the hybrid, could lead to low yield. He advised all maize and rice farmers to adopt Obaatanpa, Mamaba maize and sikamo varieties, which are all high yielding hybrids to enable them to get bumper harvests.

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