Accra, Dec.29, GNA - The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), has set up a working group to research into the nutritional values of local dishes to facilitate the preparation of menus for the country's educational institutions.
Major Courage Quashigsh (RTD), the sector Minister, who announced this in Accra on Wednesday said next year MOFA would also hold an exhibition on food packaging.
"A nation like Ghana must find the food value for our products and market it", he said in a lecture on "Modernising Agriculture for Accelerated Wealth Creation and National Development", at the 56th Annual New Year School, underway at the University of Ghana, Legon.
The School being organised by the Institute of Adult Education of the University, is on the broad team: "Modernising Agriculture for Accelerated Wealth Creation and National Development: Implications and Challenges".
Major Quashigah said the lack of effective and scientific skills had prevented experts from collecting relevant information to promote agriculture and to add value to produce.
He said coordinated modernisation of agriculture required a paradigm shift and cost-effective methods to reduce waste, low productivity and drudgery associated with it.
The Agriculture Minister said such efforts were the only way to attain national food security, which was part of the overall objective to make Ghana a middle income economy by 2015.
He expressed concern about the tendency of farmers to overgrow their farm animals, explaining that by the time they are slaughtered they may have lost their nutritional value.
"The appropriate time of slaughtering a cow is two and half years, but some times you go to some areas and cows are older than their owners," attracting prolonged laughter.
Major Quashigah raised the alarm on the pouring of seawater on frozen fish, to make them look fresh, describing it "as a terrible thing to do."
He advised the general public to ascertain the wholesomeness of the fish they buy by looking for the glassy eyes and reddish gills. Major Quashigah said 15 per cent of agricultural production cost could be attributed to transportation from the pre-production level to end-users.
"This cost is almost 50 per cent due to bad roads, spillage and lost man days".
Major Quashigah expressed the need for appropriate haulage vehicles and containers for different types of farm produce. He said harvesting technologies were in their primitive stages in the country, whilst valuable portions of products that could be processed for profit was discarded.
Professor Anna R. Barnes, Acting Provost of the College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences of the University, who chaired the lecture said agriculture was a major player in the efforts to eradicate poverty and promote macro economic development.