SHIKANDA KAWANGA, Livingstone
AN international non-profit making organisation that promotes business solutions to end poverty, TechnoServe, says there is need to consider ways to avoid post-harvest losses, following the bumper harvest that Zambia has recorded this year.
TechnoServe Nigeria country director Larry Umunna said farmers must understand good agronomic practices to have a good harvest and make profits from their produce.
“We must look around issues of input production and storage. Post-handling services must always be considered to reduce the losses,” he said.
He was speaking recently during a ‘Maize conference’ dubbed: ‘Improving maize value chains for transformational impact’.
Mr Umunna said there is need for farmers to respond to market demands.
He said farmers must be grouped into cooperatives to help bargain for good prices for their produce.
“Most farmers do not know how to store their maize and that can affect them from getting a fair value for their money,” he said.
He said farmers must sell their produce when the price is most rewarding.
Mr Umunna said there is also need to create linkages between farmers and processors.
“Farming cooperatives must be linked to breweries or millers so that they agree on best-selling prices, and also prepare for the next farming season,” he said.
And Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa agribusiness specialist Stephen Kiingi said small-scale farmers can record losses of up to 40 percent due to post-harvest losses.
Mr Kiingi said farmers need to organise themselves in groups to pay for post-handling services, and consider alternative ways to reduce the losses.
“In order to make money, you have to spend money. The money has to be spent on improving the maize value chain,” he said.