CCARDESA pilots a tool to reduce crop losses in cereals

winnowingCCARDESA is piloting a tool aimed at reducing post-harvest losses in the SADC region. The Rapid Loss Assessment (RLAT) tool was developed by The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and tested in Ghana. The RLAT tool deals with losses accruing in agricultural value chains from production to processing and traditional marketing and to a lesser extent on food waste at consumption level. It is aimed at giving strategic guidance to small holder farmers and to political decision makers. CCARDESA is testing the tool in Southern Africa for the first time. A stakeholder training of the tool was conducted in Potchefstroom, South Africa, from the 4th to the 7th of June 2018. The participants for the training were stakeholders in the maize value chain drawn from Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Tanzania. It will be followed up by a practical/field phase which will be conducted in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in July.

The last part of the training involved a one day key expert workshop which aimed to provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange with Post Harvest Loss experts from the SADC region in order to enable domestication of the tool in the region. Post-harvest losses in the SADC region are more than 14% for cereals. The efficiency in minimizing the losses at farm level is not adequate. Some of interventions to reduce losses along the value chain, among others are:

• Proper storage- with metal silos preferred
• Use of the right insecticide
• Continuous education of farmers.

The RLAT tool looks at continuous losses along the value chain and pinpoints critical loss points (Hot Spots for intervention)
The data on post-harvest losses feeds into the Africa Post Harvest Loss Information Service (AFRIS) and the RLAT tool could be used to redefine losses reported at different levels of the value chain.

The application of the RLAT tool will make it easy for policy interventions as well as providing more precise advisory services by extension workers as it will be possible to pinpoint critical losses at different levels of the value chain (the Hot Points).

This article was written by Nathaniel Mtunji. Nathaniel is a Senior Advisor with the SADC Adaptation for Climate Change  for Rural Areas in Southern Africa (ACCRA) programme which is being implemented by CCARDESA and GIZ with support from the German Government.

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