Determination of Postharvest Losses in Maize Production in the Upper West Region of Ghana

Nabila Fuseini Alhassan, Patrick Kumah


Maize is one of the most important cereal crops in Ghana; however, postharvest loss is a major setback to its production. Farmers, transporters and warehouse managers’ practices along the handling chain result in major losses of the grain. Therefore, we sought, in this study, to determine the postharvest practices that caused losses in maize in of Upper West Region of Ghana. The research was in three phases:(1) A field survey where questionnaires were administered to 100 farmers, 30 transporters and 12 warehouse managers, (2) yield loss assessment that determined the per cent grain losses during harvesting, shelling and winnowing, loading and offloading, transportation, foreign debris and weevil infestation and (3) the effects of shelling methods on physical characteristics (stress crack, kernel weight and true kernel density) of maize grain. The survey revealed that majority (68%) of farmers used mechanical shelling and shelled directly into sacks without further cleaning which resulted in high foreign material in the grains. Estimated farmer handling losses were 8.33%, while transportation to the warehouses recorded losses of 0.30%, warehouse operations15.74% losses, giving total handling losses of 24.37%. An average moisture content of 10.07% was recorded at the end of a seven-month storage period and there were significant variations (P ≤0.05) among communities studied. The stress cracks in manually and mechanically shelled grains recorded 29% and 6%, respectively. The average kernel weight, volume and true density for grains in the study area were 31.03 g, 23.69 cm3 and 1.31 g/cm3, respectively, which indicated maize kernels stored in the region were hard and susceptible to stress cracks during shelling. Estimated economic losses along the handling chain amounted to GHȻ1,106.96. We conclude that postharvest losses are quite high and if nothing is done to reduce that, could worsen food security situation in the already challenged region of Ghana.


Shelling and winnowing losses; loading and offloading losses; foreign material; broken grains; maize weevils; stress crack index; kernel density and moisture content.

Full Text:



IITA. (2016). International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Maize Crop [Available online). (Date accessed 24/08/2016.

FAO. (2008). Terminal Report: Action Programme for the prevention of food losses. Food and Agricultural Organisation. Pp 17-72.

Morris, M. L., Tripp, R., and Dankyi, A. A. (1999). Adoption and Impacts of Improved Maize Production Technology: A Case Study of the Ghana Grains Development Project. Economics Program Paper 99-01. Mexico, D.F.: CIMMYT.

Brink, M. and Belay,G. (Editor), 2006. Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 1. Cereal and Pulse. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen, Netherlands/Backhuys publishers, Leiden, Netherlands/ CTA, Wageningen, Netherlands. 298 pp.

Harris, K. L. & Lindblad C. J. (1978). Postharvest Grain Loss Assessment Methods. Minnesota, America Association of Cereal Chemist, p. 193.

Shepherd,M. E. A. (2007).Approaches to linking producers to markets. A review of experiences to date. Agricultural Management, Marketing and Finance Occasional paper 13.FAO, Italy.

FAO. (2010). The State of Food Security in the world: addressing food insecurity in protested crises. Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, Rome. http//

GSS. (2010). Population and Housing Census Report. Ghana Statistical Service. Ghana.

MAFA (2016, October 15). Masara N’ Arziki Farmers Association. 22nd Annual review Meeting, Council members, Tamale - Ghana.

U.S. grain council (2015). United State Maize grain report, (Available Online) (Date accessed: 13/05/2016).

Joseph, K. (2015). Assessment of postharvest losses of maize in the Sissala East and West districts of the upper west region of Ghana, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana.

Vishwanatha, B.T. (2005). An economic Analysis of Threshing of Maize Crop in Karnataka: A comparative Study of Mechanical and traditional threshing methods. Thesis submitted to the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad for MSc. In Agricultural Economics, Dharwad- 580005.

SRID-MoFA. (2009). Statistical Research and Information Directorate (SRID), “Agriculture in Ghana: Facts and Figures”.

IDRC. (1976). Rice postharvest technology. In: Araullo, E.V., De Padua, D. B and Graham, M. (eds). Rice postharvest technology. International Development Research Centre. Ottawa, Canada.

APHLIS. (2014). Africa Postharvest Losses Information System: Estimated Postharvest losses (%) for maize in Ghana 2003-28. FAO Statistical Databases. (2008). FAOSTAT: Agriculture Data. [Available online] Date accessed: 20/06/2016).


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Comments on this article

View all comments




About ASRJETS | Privacy PolicyTerms & Conditions | Contact Us | DisclaimerFAQs 

ASRJETS is published by (GSSRR).