Seventeen crop storage schemes with a capacity of over 80,000 tonnes in ten different points countrywide are being built to reduce post-harvest losses estimated at US$1.8m.
The Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) is representing the government in this public-private venture, according to a document released in Dar es Salaam yesterday. The document indicates that some five silos and 12 warehouses are currently being built. Out of the 80,000 tonnes, 34,000 tonnes of maize will be stored in the proposed structures.
According to the document, expert estimates show that an astonishing 30-40% of cereals and an even higher percentage of perishable foodstuffs are recorded as post-harvest losses. The losses are incurred at different points of the value chain, where the supply chain is less mechanized, larger losses are incurred during drying, storage and processing.
There remains a critical gap pertaining to farmer’s access to modern post-harvest management technologies, a situation which calls for joint stakeholders’ efforts to attract investment in this important segment of agricultural chains. TADB joined stakeholders to build the structures because its mission is to improve productivity, support and strengthen value chains and transform the agricultural sector.
Huge postharvest losses are a threat to food security, incomes and livelihoods of many households in sub-Saharan Africa. Annual value of postharvest losses for grains alone exceeds US$ 4Bn. In Tanzania domestic food production is barely sufficient to meet national food needs. Many households experience protracted periods of food shortage. As a result, over US$ 200m is spent annually to import food.
Managing postharvest losses could potentially offset this food deficit. Past interventions to reduce postharvest losses targeted improvement of handling and storage practices through transfer of single and standalone technologies, particularly for root crops and maize. Efforts were channeled to individual smallholder farmers. Success stories of this strategy, however, are not many. Since the food crisis that began in 2006, the global food situation has become a critical issue.