The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Postharvest Loss: Maize postharvest loss mitigation in Ghana
Abstract: The USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Postharvest Loss (PHLIL) was launched in 2014. This Lab is administered through Kansas State University, but includes researchers from many institutions. One of the focus areas within this broad project is reducing maize postharvest losses in Ghana. Most of the maize production in Ghana is in the Middle Belt and northern part of the country. The Middle Belt has two maize production seasons, the major season and minor season. These seasons cover the periods April-August/September and September-December, respectively. In the north, the maize production season is June-October (but maize is left in the field to dry until late November/December). The most serious problem facing smallholder farmers in the Middle Belt is difficulty in drying their major season maize. The window for drying is only approximately four weeks in August and September when it is rainy and mostly overcast. Postharvest losses are primarily due to mold and aflatoxin in the Middle Belt and due to insect pests in the north. Over the last 3.5 years PHLIL Ghana has identified tools that could be applied to help alleviate these losses and is initiating their scale up. Technologies that have been identified, researched, pilot tested, and now in the initial stages of being scaled up include the PHL low-cost moisture meter, 1- and 5-MT Solar Biomass Hybrid Dryers (SBHD), and ZeroFly® Hermetic Storage Bags. PHLIL Ghana progress and future plans are discussed.