This post was originally published at PAEPARD and has been republished with permission.
2 March 2017. Reducing Post-Harvest Losses to Increase the Value of Vegetable Products (2 pages) Policy brief from ECOWAS, New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
Currently, substantial al amount of vegetables products are lost through limited availability of technologies and related infrastructure for post-harvest activities. This negatively impacts on incomes of vegetable farmers and the pursuit for national food and nutrition on security. Post-harvest losses in the vegetable value chain are associated with the perishable nature of the products and this is made worse by the weak links in the post-harvest value chain itself.
Most advocacy for the control of post-harvest losses in the vegetable value chain focuses on the cold chain and its related sophistication. However, for West African countries proper training and orientation on of actors within the post-harvest value chain (producers, middle men and women and retailers) and other related infrastructure are more critical than sophisticated machinery geared towards maintaining the cold chain.
Realizing the full potentials of the contribution of vegetables in the national economy depends largely on addressing bottlenecks in the post-harvest value chain. However, limited investments in processing and packaging facilities are a major hindrance in improving quality and lengthening shelf lives of vegetables produced in West African countries.
- Governments of West African countries to consider matching grants to private sector actors in the vegetable post-harvest value chain.
- Addressing post-harvest lost in the vegetable value chain requires strategic cooperation and communicate on between research and extension in this regard, a five year strategic plan focusing on research and extension on the vegetable post-harvest value chain would be worth considering.
- The ministries responsible for agriculture together with the Ministry of Roads and Infrastructure to produce an action plan for upgrading of feeder roads targeting vegetable production sites and mobilize resources to implement the action plan.
- Facilitation of market linkages with agribusinesses by developing strategic alliances with established marketing outlets such as supermarkets and hotels.
- Develop and implement communication and sensitization strategy and tools on appropriate timing and methods of harvesting.
- Develop and implement nutrition education programmes.