Initiative to cut post-harvest grains losses launched

An initiative has been launched to promote the scale-up of innovative technologies for reducing post-harvest losses in Sub-Saharan Africa and help combat malnutrition, food insecurity and poverty.

Agricultural scientists and other experts at the launch last month (5 July) in Kenya say that the continent’s little investments in managing post-harvest losses is a major drawback to transforming Africa.

The experts note that Sub-Saharan Africa losses about 30 per cent of the grains produced owing to inadequate post-harvest management, lack of structured markets, inadequate storage in households and on farms, and limited processing capacity.

This, they add, happens despite existence of innovative technologies developed by agricultural scientists and researchers across the continent to reduce such losses.

“Food loss is a large and urgent problem that presents a clear opportunity for impact,” says Rafael Flor, deputy regional director of Africa for Rockefeller Foundation.

Flor noted that 1.6 billion people globally could be fed with food lost yearly.

The three-year project that aims to reduce post-harvest loss of grains in Africa is being implemented by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) with 2.7 million Canadian dollar (about US$2.1 million) from the Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Anne Mbaabu, head of markets and post-harvest management at AGRA, says: “We want to scale up innovations and technologies of post-harvest losses to help smallholder farmers reap benefits from their work.”

She explains that the initiative will increase awareness, accessibility and affordability of existing technologies such as threshers to 10,000 smallholder farmers in Botswana and Mozambique.

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by SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa English desk

Photo credits: A. Paul-Bossuet/ICRISAT