Agriculture Commodity Exchange(ACE)in collaboration with Market Linkages Initiative Bridging Activity (MLI BA) is urging smallholder farmers to follow proper harvesting techniques to reduce post-harvest losses.
Speaking at a farmers field-day in Balaka last weekend, MLI BA chief of party Rachel Sibande said the amount of post harvest losses in the country is worrisome.
“Four years ago, MLI BA conducted a survey, which revealed that, post harvest losses account to about 30 percent of the maize harvests,” she said.
Sibande said since smallholder farmers contribute a lot to this country’s economy, it was crucial for them to be part of their initiative.
“We target smallholder farmers in the rural sector. Usually, what happens is that, most of these farmers follow the traditional way of harvesting crops. For instance, when harvesting maize, most farmers will just pluck the cob from the stalk then pile them somewhere in the field. By doing so, not only are they exposing the grain to rodents, but some maize cobs are left in the field by mistake,” she said.
Furthermore, Sibande encouraged farmers to deposit their maize in warehouses to avoid being swindled by traders during peak periods.
ACE structured trade officer, Frank Kadzakumanja, said: “By depositing commodities in our certified warehouses, farmers are assured of not only access to better storage and linkage to markets, but also access to finance using
their commodity as collateral.”