POST-HARVEST losses (PHLs) are said to claiming more than 30 per cent of grains each harvesting season in Tanzania.
This is equivalent to 1.3 million metric tonnes of maize and other food crops which go to waste due to poor storage methods.
Opening a four-day expert and stakeholders meeting here yesterday, a Food Security Expert from the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Honest Kessy noted that such huge loss is to small scale farmers in the country, which affects them economically.
Dr Kessy described PHLs as a critical problem that affects multiple value chains, posing a threat to overall food security.
“A staggering fifty per cent of harvested grains are lost due to lack of proper ways of handling, transporting and storing farm produce, and this could lead to a potential food crisis in the country,” warned the expert from the Agricultural Ministry.
In Tanzania, studies have revealed that PHLs range between 15 and 40 per cent, depending on the type of crop. The situation is even worse on the continental level, according to Dr Kessy.
“For instance, Africa alone loses more than 100 milion metric tons of grain per year, making it even difficult to achieve and realize the Malabo declaration,” he observed.
Such warnings come hot on the heels of revelations that the government was in need of 111.89bn/- to address PHLs as the country suffered a shortage of current and realistic data for implementing its strategic development plans.
However, despite the looming food crisis, Dr Kessy was optimistic that the strategies such as the Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDP phase II) could help address the problem.
The ASDPII has pinned down specific interventions to reduce post-harvest losses by 50 per cent.
In August this year, Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan launched the government’s 10-year post-harvest strategy that seeks to address post-harvest losses of major crops in the country.
The strategy has since been billed as successful and achievable by development partners.
“It is a very successful strategy by the government in its quest of addressing PHLs,” quipped Ms Annet Witteveen, who is also the Helvetas Country Director.
The Helvetas official, however, rooted for best storage practices that would suit small scale farmers in Tanzania.
Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/201910250100.html
Publish date : 2019-10-25 07:15:43