Call for collaboration to reduce post-harvest losses

31 Jul, 2022 - 00:07 0 Views
Call for collaboration to reduce post-harvest losses

The Sunday News

Sikhulekelani Moyo, Business Reporter

SMALL-SCALE horticulture farmers should collaborate in developing supportive infrastructure to reduce post-harvest losses while boosting capacity to service bigger markets.

This emerged during a recent field day event for Umguza farmers held in Bulawayo by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in partnership with Syngenta and other stakeholders. 

Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)

In his remarks, Ruvents Supply Chain Pvt Ltd operations manager, Mr John Mbawa, said a cooperative model was ideal in helping farmers raise capital to invest in facilities such as cold rooms, irrigation systems and green houses. That would allow them to supply the market during times of shortage, he added.

“Farmers should work together and set up green houses, which will help them produce off season products to supply the market in times of shortages. By doing that, it will help farmers get highest value for their products,” said Mr Mbawa.

ADRA is the global humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that delivers relief and development assistance to individuals in more than 118 countries, partnering with local communities, organisations, and governments.

The organisation recently established a cold room facility to support farmers in Umguza District, which is meant to assist the horticulture business keep produce fresh before supplying the market.

The aim is to promote horticulture growth in line with the Government’s Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan.

Mr Mbawa said other key components towards reducing post-harvest losses are market research and communication.

He stressed the need for farmers to know what their market needs and also the quantity of products the market wants at a specific time.

“The market has got the ceiling of what they can consume and you cannot force them because you have excess, so there should be a balance on what the market can consumer and what a farmer can produce,” said Mr Mbawa. 

He also urged farmers to work with other stakeholders such as Syngenta and Agritex to acquire knowledge about varieties, fertiliser and chemicals, which can be used to produce products with longer shelf life.

Mr Joe Mkandla

In an interview, Syngenta Zimbabwe crop protectant consultant, Mr Joe Mkandla, said right choice of varieties assists farmers to reduce post-harvest losses as some have long shelf life, which will give them time to sell their products.

During the field day, farmers were taught best practices on how to produce peas for export market, land preparation, pest control, fertilizer application and harvesting. [email protected]

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