Assessment of postharvest losses of yam production in the Krachi-East District of the Volta Region of Ghana

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The study was carried out in the Krachi East – Distract of the Volta Region of Ghana to assess postharvest losses of yam. The research was carried out in two stages; the first stage was a survey to assess postharvest loss of yam in the Krachi East- District. The second stage was an in-depth study on losses of yam at both the farmer level and the marketer level by counting the losses of yam. A random sampling method was used to select both farmers and marketers of yam in the operational area. Data obtained from the study was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences. Linear regression using stepwise method was used in estimating the major factors of postharvest losses in yam production at the farmer and the marketers’ levels. The study showed that majority of farmers in the district grew puna (55%), lalbako (57%), and water yam (58%). The study revealed that there was up to 30% loss of tubers at harvest, 32% loss of tubers at storage and more than 35.5% of tubers sprouting during storage. The study showed that: less than 5% of marketers experienced less than 52% loss at buying and less than 5 % of marketer’s experienced 53% loss during off-loading. The regression analysis revealed that the major causes of postharvest losses at the farmer level included; pest attack, variety of yam cultivated and tools used in harvesting yams. The regression analysis also indicated that the major causes of postharvest losses at the marketer level included; type of vehicles used in transporting tubers, varieties of yam sold, cuts or bruises and exposure of yam to harsh environmental conditions. A follow-up (in-depth study), however, showed that there was an average loss of 17.72% at farm gate, 5.4% loss at the market level and 8.9% loss at retailer level. Mean temperatures at storage areas at the farm was 32.2 oC, at the market and 32.1 oC at the retail points. Pathological study showed that Fusarium solani Fusarium oxysoporium, Botryodiplodia theobromae and Rhizopus orazea were the main rot- causing organism during storage.
A thesis submitted to the School of Resarch and Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy (Mphil. Postharvest Technology) degree, 2014