Assessment of postharvest losses of maize in the Sissala East and West Districts of the Upper West Region of Ghana

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In order to minimize postharvest losses in maize and provide postharvest loss information to policy makers and postharvest manager, it was important to quantify the losses along the postharvest value chain. During the study, postharvest loss of maize along the value chain in the Sissala East and West Districts of the Upper West Region of Ghana was assessed. Ten communities in each district were selected for the study. In each community postharvest losses incurred by ten farmers were assessed. Loss was assessed at harvest, transportation, shelling and winnowing, storage, and processing stages of the value chain. The results showed that varied losses (p<0.05) between the communities with respect to the harvesting, shelling and winnowing losses, weevil infestation and number of holes in grains per 50gram of grains. The study revealed that there were no significant differences (p>0.05) between the two districts for harvesting, shelling and winnowing, and transportation. Harvesting losses ranged between 154.65 and 281kg/ha, whereas shelling, transportation and processing losses ranged between 154.00 - 281kg/ha, 3.35kg/ha, and 8.46kg/100kg, respectively. By the end of the fourth (4th) month storage losses in the Sissala West district was 39.6% and was not statistically different (p>0.05) from the Sissala East (40.3%). There was a 10 per cent reduction in weight of the stored grains with every one month of storage, which was attributed to weevil infestation. The study revealed that more than 50% of maize produced and stored in both the Sissala East and West District are lost due to poor postharvest handling. This has serious economic and food security implication in the districts. Measures aimed at reducing the losses need to be implemented to reduce the losses.