YieldWise to train maize farmers on post-harvest management

21Nov 2017
Beatrice Philemon
The Guardian
YieldWise to train maize farmers on post-harvest management

A total of 30,000 smallholder maize farmers in 10 regions will be trained on post-harvest management (PHM) and good agricultural practice in a bid to reduce post-harvest food losses in the country.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa with senior managers of Sunshine Group when he visited the company’s branch in Mbeya recently. They are the group’s chief executive officer Suny Tonny (2nd left), its vice president Betty Mkwasa (2nd right) and Leo Lee, the CEO of Sunbelt, which is one of the subsidiaries of the group. Photo: Joseph Mchekadona

The training to be held before the harvesting season next year will be undertaken under the three-year Tanzania-YieldWise Project. The US$$4.6 million project seeks to increase smallholder farmer incomes by 25 per cent by cutting maize post-harvest losses in half.

YieldWise Team Leader Jones Govereh said recently in Dar es Salaam that farmers who will benefit from the project will be from Arusha, Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Iringa, Mbeya, Morogoro, Njombe, Rukwa, Ruvuma and Dodoma regions.

Speaking at the National Level Post-harvest Management Conference at the University of Dar es Salaam, Govereh said reducing post-harvest losses provides an opportunity to deliver higher incomes for farmers, better health for the community, and a sustainable food and environmental future for Tanzania.

The theme of the conference was ‘Reducing post-harvest losses for food security and industrialization’.

The training will be offered to farmers through the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) that is implementing the YieldWise maize project in Tanzania with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.

According to Govereh, Tanzania loses about a third of its annual maize output, which amounts to about four per cent of the agricultural GDP.  He said in the next three years the YieldWise Maize Project targets to train 80,000 farmers in post-harvesting handling and organize them into groups to market surplus grain through aggregation centres.

It will also support the purchase of 300,000 tonnes of maize from the farmers through forward delivery contracts, and create three regional and five district maize procurement platforms to make it easier for buyers to purchase grains through the aggregation centres.

Another target of YieldWise is introduction of innovative finance mechanisms to promote investments in post-harvest technologies. Others include linking 60,000 farmers to grain storage technologies, connecting 100 agro-dealers to manufacturers of storage technologies and targeting 30 value-chain actors to access finance to distribute hermetic technologies to farmers.

Govereh said 49,000 smallholder farmers were trained in PHM between Many and August this year. He added that a similar number of farmers will be trained on Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) before starting of the planting season. The training, which started in October, is expected to end next month.

Elaborating on how YieldWise supports farmers to benefit from what they grow, Govereh said that among other things, arrangements are made for them to meet with buyers and processors of their produce. After the meetings, procurement contracts are signed between the parties.

“We did it last year and this year. In 2016, a total of 16 farmers’ organizations comprising 4453 smallholder farmers signed contracts with seven buyers of their maize. The farmers managed to sell about 28,000 metric tonnes through aggregation centres,” he said.

The YieldWise Project is being implemented with the help of two local partners, who are Building Rural Incomes through Enterprise (BRiTEN) and Rural Urban Development Initiative (RUDI).

 

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