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Morogoro hosts 2nd national postharvest management conference

A second national post-harvest management conference that seeks to discuss post-harvest management challenges as important component of food security and export trade will be held in Morogoro on Friday this week.

The two-day conference has been organised by the Tanzania Post-harvest Management Platform (TPMP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF), and other stakeholders.

The conference that will bring on board pertinent issues and challenges on postharvest management and mycotoxins is expected to attract about 250 participants from academia, government, research, private sector, farmers, media, NGOs, civil society organizations and the industrial sector.

Speaking to the ‘Daily news’ ANSAF Executive Director Audax Rukonge said that the role of TPMP is to create linkages and networks between these actors (Public and Private) to participate in postharvest management issues, meet and share experiences, learn from each other and work together in the areas of research and policy advocacy.

“This conference that will take place at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) is part of the on-going effort to implement the National Post-Harvest Management Strategy for Tanzania (2019-2029)."

The closing ceremony will be marked by key takeaway messages and an ‘award’ event to recognize individuals or organizations who have significantly contributed towards post-harvest management and mycotoxins contamination in Tanzania.

Under the theme, "Reducing Post-harvest losses for enhanced Food Security and Export Trade’’ four key issues such as scientific, business and regulatory will also be discussed during the conference.

He mentioned the four sub themes as private sector participation, policy and business enabling environment in PHM, mycotoxins in agriculture, food safety and export trade, ICT, Science, technology and innovation in post-harvest management and youth and women in post-harvest management.

Mr Rukonge noted that other organizers of the conference including SUA’s College of Agriculture and HELVETAS through its Grain Postharvest loss Prevention Project.

The TPMP is a network of different actors from all over Tanzania working together to achieve reduced post-harvest losses through improved postharvest policies and framework conditions in Tanzania.

In recent years, global food production has reached a record high. However, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Bank reports about one third (30 to 40 percent) of the food produced globally is lost or wasted annually. This is equivalent to loss of 1.3 billion tons of food per year.

These losses exacerbate food insecurity and have a negative impact on the environment through wasting land, water, farm inputs and energy used in producing food that is not consumed.

Moreover, postharvest losses reduce income to farmers and contribute to higher food prices.

Post-harvest food loss is a major factor contributing to under-/malnutrition, economic instability and hunger across the developing world, directly impacting the lives of millions of poor, smallholder farming families.

In many developing countries, due to inadequate handling and storage practices at the household level within the first three months after harvest, farmers lose up to 40 percent of their harvest to insects, pests, and mould.

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