CCARDESA trains stakeholders on how to use a Rapid Loss Appraisal Tool (RLAT)
The Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) with the support of The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa (ARC) conducted a three day training on the use of a Rapid Loss Appraisal Tool (RLAT). The training was held in Potchefstroom, South Africa from 4-7 June 2018.
The aim of the training was to create capacities for assessing food and harvest losses using a tool which was developed by GIZ and tested in Ghana with a view of adapting the tool for the SADC region.
The trainees were drawn from several SADC nations which include Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and South Africa. They all participated in focus group meetings to deliberate on the tool as presented. Trainees were divided into three groups as value-chain operators (i.e farmers, traders, and operators) to discuss and present the losses in their respective perspectives. The purpose for the focus group meetings was to assess the loss perception of the value-chain operators for a value-chain of cereals. On the last day of the training they participated in a transect walk to gain more insights into the practicability of the RLAT tool in reducing losses. The exercise was carried out to help trainees familiarize with some of the challenges faced when conducting a transect walk as one element of the tool. Some elements of the tool include taking biophysical measurements and preliminary identification of fungi among others.
Trainees were engaged in discussing harvesting, storage and processing practices of smallholder farmers in the SADC region. They also discussed the distribution of finished products, quality of raw materials and the further use of crop rejects in the region. In addition, issues of Aflatoxin Risk management were discussed. It came out that FAO estimates 25 percent of the world’s grain harvest to be contaminated with aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is carcinogenic and can cause liver and other cancers to humans.
This article was written by Mooketsi Motiki. Mooketsi is a communications Intern with CCARDESA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org