About 40 warehouses under government's one district, one warehouse initiative will be ready for use by the end of July this year as part of measures to address post-harvest losses in the country.
According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO), Hanan Abdul-Wahab, the warehouses, with 100,000 metric tonnes capacity each, was part of the first phase of the project to construct 80 warehouses for selected districts across the country.
"Already, we have commissioned three of these warehouses and hopefully by July, half of the 80 will be ready. I'm sure processes would soon begin to award the warehouses for beneficiary districts," he stated.
Mr Abdul-Wahab was speaking in an interview when he paid a courtesy call on management of the New Times Corporation (NTC), publishers of Ghanaian Times and The Spectator in Accra yesterday.
The visit was to afford the media house an opportunity to have in-depth understanding of the operations of NAFCO while fostering stronger relationship between both institutions for their mutual benefit.
The CEO noted that as it stands, the warehouses were designed to store grains and non-perishable goods but his outfit was working closely with other stakeholders to provide storage facilities for perishable goods like fruits, vegetables, tubers among others produced by local farmers in large quantities.
"We are in talks with relevant stakeholders to see how best we can store such perishable goods. We are considering putting up pack houses at major food hubs and proposing for instance, that, the Ghana Education Service (GES) provides large refrigerators for the schools we supply so during bumper seasons, such products could be stored for use even in lean seasons," he said.
Mr Abdul-Wahab expressed his outfit's commitment to promote food safety while providing necessary market for local farmers to ensure adequate food supply for consumption and export.
"We are not going to compromise on our mandate and will ensure that suppliers adhere to all laid-down procedures in the food chain, failure to do so, we won't hesitate to revoke their licences," he cautioned.
Acting Managing Director of the NTC, Martin Adu-Owusu lauded government intentions to set up warehouses across 80 selected districts, indicating that the move will help ensure food sufficiency in the country.
To him, the initiative when followed through would ensure that local farmers received better pricing for their products to improve their livelihood.
Mr Adu-Owusu entreated NAFCO to ensure food items were supplied on time to various second cycle schools particularly those in deprived areas so as not to interrupt academic work.
The Editor of the Ghanaian Times, Mr David Agbenu also urged the company to be more visible to allow Ghanaians appreciate their work saying, "You must not be a closed organisation, make yourself more available so we can all support your work."
He further charged NAFCO to work assiduously towards providing storage facilities for fresh goods indicating the paper's support to put "positive pressure" on government to ensure the proposal see the light of day.
"If we are able to store most of the food we produce, we will be able to put them out during lean seasons so we do not burden citizens with high cost of foodstuffs during such period," he observed.