Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board (RAB) through Reducing Postharvest Losses in Rwanda Project organized a 3 days training on reducing Post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables in Rwanda to 24 Agronomists from 8 districts and 16 sectors in Southern Province who will be training their fellow agronomists and farmers. The training is being conducted at the Southern Agriculture Zone, Rubona Research Center.
More than 40% of fruits and vegetables produced can be lost before reaching the end user through the post-harvest activities like harvesting, handling, transporting, sorting, packaging, storage etc. The training is to close the knowledge gap which could enhance the efforts of all the stakeholders to address and reduce post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables.
Trainees visited a Zero Energy Cooling Chamber (ZECC) demo at Rubona Research Centre that shows how farmers are able to have their affordable ZECC for increasing the shelf-life of their fresh produce. Visited also a Cool boat, the affordable technology that is less costly and can keep fresh produce for more than seven days. Also had an explanation on the use of the solar dryer (cover sheet in clear Polyethylene sheet removed).
The training aims at identifying the root cause and most efficient ways to reduce post-harvest losses in Rwanda to increase food security. Some of the causes of the post-harvest losses are: lack of basic knowledge among stakeholders on how to develop, implement, use appropriate handling techniques and adequate extension services to increase farmer’s skills on affordable post-harvest practices.
Lack of market accessibility leading to the need of storage, lack of proper packaging and storage, absence of appropriate on-farm practices of harvesting and storage facilities also were demonstrated to be a barrier for successful production.
The training focuses on post-harvest loss assessment, appropriate practices and technologies, and building entrepreneur capacity along the value chain to have quality products for international, regional and local markets. The training will therefore help different stakeholders such as; farmers, extension agents, private entrepreneurs, cooperatives and others in agribusiness to adopt appropriate technologies to reduce post-harvest losses with the aim of enhancing quality products and prolonging produce shelf life as well as gain more profits from their investments.
Reducing the post-harvest loss of fresh produce is an important aspect for sustainable agriculture development efforts to increase food availability and security.