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Reducing Post-Harvest Loses Key to Ensuring Food Security

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has been the lead implementing partner in Tanzania for the maize component of the YieldWise Food Loss Reduction Initiative (YWS) supported by the Rockefeller Foundation between 2016 and 2019. The initiative was focused on fruits, vegetables, and staple crops in Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. Addressing post-harvest losses is key to unlocking the tremendous promise for enhancing inclusive economic growth, food security, and nutrition. With support, farming families can easily transit to commercial agriculture. Interventions in Tanzania showed farmers maize productivity more than tripled in most areas from an average of 500 kg per acre to 2,200 kg per acre. The more progressive farmers achieved 3,000 kg per acre. Some of the issues that have exacerbated post-harvest losses include lack of market access, financing and use of outdated technology to store the grains. But all is not lost. There is evidence that multilevel interventions in the production supply chain can increase the amount of food on the table and money in the pocket for the farmers. The YieldWise project integrated five components -Market demand and linkages, farmer aggregation and training, access to finance, increasing access to post-harvest loss technologies and practices, prioritization of loss prevention and knowledge management. The project came to an end last year and there are valuable lessons that can be replicated elsewhere. Post-harvest loss management should be holistic and address the whole value chain and its actors. This includes production and improvement in productivity to make farmers competitive in the market.