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To reduce post-harvest losses in maize, farmers have been linked to large buyers and taught on how to store their harvests safely.

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Sven Torfinn / Panos

Making tech available to smallholders to boost growth

by Gilbert Nakweya
Iringa, Tanzania

Agriculture is the backbone of Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy, with many countries depending on it heavily, a reason many development institutions are investing in the sector.

This rhymes well with AU’s agriculture goals of shared prosperity and improved livelihoods to be attained by 2025 as stated in the Malabo Declaration on accelerated agricultural growth and transformation.

However, the African Union’s vision could be in danger if governments do not address the challenges that face smallholder farmers who are key partners as I learnt during a three-day field visit to southern Tanzania’s Iringa region last month (25-27 July).

“Many farmers in my neighbourhood want these storage facilities but they are not easily accessible because they are expensive.”

Violet Kasike

During the visit organised by Kenya-headquartered Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), I discovered that the famers have challenges such as inaccessibility to technologies and innovations that have been developed to help minimise post-harvest losses.

Under the YieldWise project initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation and AGRA to reduce post-harvest losses in maize, farmers have been linked to large buyers and taught on how to store their harvests safely.

This is through the use of facilities such as hermetic bags, and metal silos that can store grain safely for over two years without using chemicals.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.