Harvest Practices of Vegetable Farmers in Ghana
Vegetable farming is the most practiced urban agriculture in Ghana. A previous study by a UGA food science laboratory revealed poor microbial quality of, and presence of Salmonella on, leafy green vegetables grown or sold in Accra, Ghana. The aims of a current UGA study were to determine agricultural practices of urban vegetable farmers and the association between agricultural practices and microbial safety of vegetables produced. A survey was conducted among 102 farmers from 12 farming areas who produced exotic and indigenous leafy greens in Accra, Ghana to identify their farming practices. The scientists observed that water from waste drains pumped into shallow wells was used for irrigation by 70 percent of the farmers. Incompletely composted manure was commonly used in farming. Vegetables were usually harvested using bare hands and knives and transported mainly in sacks to market centers under non-refrigerated conditions. The scientists concluded that education and improved agricultural and post-harvest handling practices should be encouraged among vegetable producers in the area to improve food safety.