A female maize trader at the Techiman Market, Ghana.
Photo: T. Pfeiffer

22.03.2016

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The earlier quality is measured in the agricultural value chain, the more efficiently and sustainably farmers can reach higher quality of their products. However, there is still a lot to catch up on in providing such services for smallholders in particular. This article focuses on maize and pineapple value chains in Ghana to demonstrate what perceptions of quality there are and how the adoption of quality infrastructure services could be promoted.

Twenty-two per cent of Ghana’s GDP is produced in the agricultural sector, which currently employs 45 per cent of the country’s total labour force. The sector is characterised by a smallholder production base and low productivity. Agriculture plays an essential role – not only for peasants, but also for the growing middle class in Ghana’s cities who demand agricultural products from rural areas. In this exchange from rural to urban areas, trade is being stretched over much greater distances, requiring, in theory, transparent and universal communication on quality. The earlier quality is measured in the “farm-to-fork” sequence, the more efficiently and sustainably farmers reach higher quality. At the smallholder level, services to analyse product quality therefore need to be applied at the beginning of value chains. A team of the Centre for Rural Development (SLE) at Humboldt University of Berlin has examined the use of such services, focusing on maize and pineapple value chains in Ghana.

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