An estimated 60-90 million quintals of crop produce is lost annually in Ethiopia owing to poor post-harvest handling, researches indicate.
The amount accounts 20-30 percent of the total production. To put it into an understandable perspective, the stated produce could feed over 20 million people for about a year.
Currently, Non-for-profit organizations in partnership with farmers’ cooperative union are distributing improved technologies that could prevent post-harvest loses along the value chain–from farm-table.
A recent intervention of Shayashone in collaboration with Agriterra-SNV at a Wodera in north Showa zone of Amhara state is a case in point. Wodera Farmers’ Cooperatives Union received and distributed Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) to its members– PICS is simple and low-cost post harvest loss preventing bag. PICS has comparative advantage over the other storage bags in that it is chemical free storage material.
Shayashone CEO Yared Sasa told this reporter that the main objective of the distribution is to mitigate crop damage during storage by weevils, rats, termites and other pests. “The farmers are not well aware of the extent of the loss and sector’s actors also give it little attention,” Yared added.
“Our technology can provide 10 up to 12 percent solution to the current crop damage in the country. Since our technology is free from chemicals it is advisable to store crop safely and free from any damages.”
Yared emphasized that storing any crop with PICS will make the crop safer for consumption while contributing to the crop’s competitiveness both in the local and global market.
Moreover, Yared also added that various communities in five various States have benefited from the intervention. “We have distributed 376,000 PICS to farmers over the last three consecutive years. Still, the growing demands of farmers are unmet.”
Yared stressed that raising the farmers’ awareness, promoting further alternative technologies and distributing technologies timely could be some of the solutions to tackle post harvest crop damage.
For his part, Wodera Farmers’ Cooperatives Union General Manager Yirdaw Alemu said that the main objective of the cooperative’s establishment is to introduce modern agricultural technologies and boost production and productivity.
The cooperative plays a significant role in the supply chain of agricultural inputs such as; soil fertilizers, improved seeds, pest controlling chemicals and other modern crop cultivation mechanisms to the farmers, he added.
“PICS is important to maintain the healthiness of all crops for longer period of time especially commercial crops which is exported to the overseas market. The technology is [said to be efficient] in keeping pests away as similar other farmers’ cooperatives also attest.”
PICS is said to serve up to three years in preventing crop from damages.
The Ethiopian Herald