Guard against post-harvest losses, stakeholders told

Stakeholders in agriculture sector have been urged to ensure that post harvest losses challenge is cut to 75 per cent by 2025.

Audax Rukonge, Executive Director of Agricultural Non State Actors Forum, (ANSAF) said since the government managed to reach middle income status before its projected time, it can also manage to reduce the challenge by 2030.

“Together as stakeholders we can come up with concerted efforts on how to get rid of post harvest loss to zero by 2030 through technology” he said.

Lukonge was speaking at the second national post harvest management conference held in Morogoro recently with a theme, “Reducing post harvest losses for enhanced food security and export trade.”

Julius Wambura, the vice chairperson of Tanzania Post Harvest Management Platform, (TPMP) noted that that post harvest losses is now a global agenda.

He said the reduction of post-harvest losses was critical in ensuring future global food security.

Available data shows that 30 to 35 per cent of harvest get losses, which is equivalent to 3.5 to 4 bags of crops in every 10 bags get lost.

He said apart from crops losses, farmers also incur losses other resources such time, energy and water, saying reducing the losses meaning the country will get more 10 per cent of food that will cut crops prices in the market.

According to Food and Agriculture Organisation, (FAO), farmers in Tanzania lose up to 40 per cent of farm produce after harvesting. This poses a real a threat to their harvests.

The losses vary depending on the nature of the crop with serious losses in perishable goods. Poor postharvest management, (PHM) is one of the factors alarming levels of Mycotoxin contamination in the country, particularly for key staple crops as maize and cassava.

Gerald Kusaya Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture stated that the government has demonstrated significant political will to fight post harvest losses by developing a national post harvest management strategy, (NPHMS) covering the next ten years from 2019 to 2029.

The strategy aimed at reducing PHL along the commodity value chains with adequately rewards the actors and sufficiently contributes to national food and nutrition security and the economy.

He said the NPHMS focuses on improving PHM by ensuring availability of appropriate post harvest and value addition practices and technologies, providing incentives for investment in marketing systems, as well as improving capacities and coordination of strategic interventions.

FAO and World Bank reports reveal that about one third, (30 to 40 per cent) of the food products globally is lost or wasted annually.

The loss translates to 1.3 billion tonnes of food per year in a world where over 870 million people go hungry.

In sub Saharan Africa, post harvest losses, (PHL) for grains alone exceed $4 billion.

African Union Commission wishes to end hunger by 2025 through among other interventions, decreasing by 50 per cent of the current levels of post-harvest losses by the year 2025.

Food losses and waste amount to roughly $680 billion in industrialized countries and $310 billion in developing countries (FAO).

Total quantitative food loss in Sub-Saharan Africa has been estimated at a 100 million metric tonnes per year. For grains alone, the value of post-harvest losses are estimated to equate to approximately $4 billion/year (at 2007 prices), which could meet the annual food requirements of about 48 million people and exceeds the annual value of grain imports into Africa and the value of total food aid received in sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade.