“In Nigeria, an alarming 45 per cent(750,000 tons) of tomatoes harvested in the country is lost due to poor Food Supply Chain (FSC) management; price instability resulting from seasonal fluctuation in production and the supply preference of farmers and middlemen for urban markets than processors due to low farm gate prices.”
“60% of fruit and vegetable are lost due to poor postharvest handling in Nigeria”
“ Signiﬁcant volumes of grain in developing countries are lost after harvest, aggravating hunger and resulting in expensive inputs—such as fertilizer, irrigation water, and human labor—being wasted. During postharvest operations, there may be losses of both cereal quantity and quality.” – FAO Report
All these are grave concerns for most smallholder family farmers in most developing countries of the world as their managing their post harvest losses will not only improve their livelihood but the food security of their community or country.
According to the Postharvest Education Foundation, key factors affecting food losses and the gaps in knowledge/skills that have been identified and they include:
- Poor understanding of harvest indices of plant foods and how maturity is related to quality and shelf life.
- Poor sorting and grading practices during preparation for market, allowing damaged /decaying foods to enter the supply chain and spread decay to other foods.
- Poor temperature management and lack of control of relative humidity, leading to shriveling, wilting and deterioration of perishable foods.
- Poor quality packages which provide little or no protection during handling, transport and storage.
- Delays in marketing without proper storage (cool storage for perishables, drying of staple grains/beans/legumes before storage)
- General lack of education on appropriate postharvest handling practices and technologies, leading to rough handling, mechanical damage, improperly handled mixed loads, and food safety dangers.
- Lack of the utilization of sustainable cost effective postharvest practices, leading to high levels of food losses on the farm, and in wholesale and retail markets.
As a Young Family farmer, i know how post harvest losses have kept many farmers in the poverty circle for a very long time that led me to enroll in the 2014 Global Postharvest E-learning Program coordinated by the Postharvest Education Foundation (http://www.postharvest.org), U.S.A which will enable me assist smallholder family farmers across Africa who are having problems managing their postharvest food losses with small scale postharvest technologies.
You can help us to reduce postharvest food losses especially in developing countries thereby reducing poor family farmers by sponsoring one of our Global postharvest e-learners or helping us to pay some of the many expenses associated with providing our training programs. Learn how to make a donation!