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03.04.2006 Regional News

Bawku onion farmers discuss post harvest loses

By GNA

Binduri (U/E), April 03, GNA - Early and late harvesting of onion predisposes the crop to early wilting and rot, Mr Sylvester Logo, Upper East Regional Officer for Plant Protection and Regulatory Services, told farmers in the Bawku area at the weekend.

They should, therefore, harvest the crop at the right time when about 50 per cent of the necks of the plants were drooping but still green to enable them to stand a lengthy storage period.

Mr Logo gave the advise at Binduri, near Bawku where he facilitated a discussion on onion storage methods with farmers in the area. "It takes 12 to 13 weeks for the variety grown in this area to mature when it is transplanted and 17 to 18 weeks when it is sown directly but maturity period for other varieties vary", he said.

He asked farmers to treat the seed with fungicides before sowing and to spray the crop with the right insecticides four weeks before harvesting so as to kill all insects that could otherwise bore holes in the bulbs and precipitate rot.

Mr Logo demonstrated to the farmers how to grade the onions according to sizes before storage and also how to use various storage facilities for best results.

The farmers, who showed much experience in cultivating the crop, complained that their colleagues had introduced various varieties from Burkina Faso that ad affected the characteristics of the local variety, thereby making it difficult for them to know what was right. The one-day workshop on post harvest and crop management practices of onion was organised by TechnoServe (TNS) a non-governmental organisation, to help farmers reduce post harvest losses and make maximum profits.

Mr. Anthony Adom, Regional coordinator of TNS, said increased production alone was not enough to guarantee food security if good storage was not done to ensure that the crops did not spoil and waste. 03 April 06

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