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The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is currently engaged in an effort to get Gari processors in the Bono-Ahafo Region to modernize their operations not only to improve food safety but also add value to gari to increase their income.  In line with this the Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD) of MOFA has  organized a field trip that saw about 35 Gari Processors from Sunyani West District and Techiman and Wenchi Municipalities visit Harii Farms and Company Ltd. at Abesewa in Ashanti, to see at first hand Gari processing in an improved and hygienic way. The Harii Farms and Company at Abesewa in the Ahafo Ano North District of Ashanti produces gari, kokonte and high quality cassava flour.  After receiving support under the Roots and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIM), the Company operates using best practices to ensure strict hygiene to guarantee production of wholesome products.  The Women In Agricultural Development WIAD Department of MOFA is consequently aiming to get small scale Gari processors to learn from the Harii experience to adopt the modern way of doing things.   The Bono-Ahafo Regional Women in Agric Development, Madam Lucy Avudega, said under the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAPP) her Department is trying to rid the gari processing industry of the insanitary conditions that pertains especially in the small scale sector.  She noted that the processing sector is a dynamic one and the GARI processors will be better off if they adopt modern hygienic ways of doing things, adding value, amidst improved packaging to attract better market.  She stressed that funding permitting the WIAD, will continue to extend the initiative beyond the three districts that are benefitting at this time.  Madam Avudega further revealed that to get around the funding challenge, they plan to reach more processors by going into the communities to do one on one education of GARI processors to adopt improved ways of operation.  The Production Manager of Harii Cassava Farms and Company, Joshua Nyinsua conducted the processors around their factory.  The improved system they saw incorporates purposely built sinks with effective drainage for washing cassava, the use of stainless steel grinders as well as the use of Shea butter for greasing of the grinders and metal portions of the presses which extracts moisture from the cassava dough.  The pressing area is also tiled to ensure cleanliness while,adequate facilities for regular hand washing by staff is provided.  The Company also uses stainless steel frying pans and has chimneys ensuring a smoke free frying area to protect the staff. The fryers of the GARI were also dressed in white with hair covered as is required of kitchen staff.  He revealed that Harii Farms aims to stand out among GARI processors through effective hygiene related practices to protect consumers by giving them quality products. An Environmental Health Officer from the Dormaa Municipal Assembly, Sulemana Mustapha, for his part stressed the need for GARI processors, to protect consumers by ensuring that their products are free of contaminants in the environment like germs, dirt and feaces since cholera remains a threat. The Bono-Ahafo Regional Director of MOFA, Dr. Cyril Quist, told the gathering that improving on hygiene and wholesomeness as well as improved packaging would lead to more patronage of their products and better their lives.
Source: Biiya Mukusah Ali/http://newspaper.developghana.com/  
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