Ministry of Lands, Agriculture & Rural Resettlement - Zimbabwe

To achieve optimal results and ensure coordinated effort, there is obviously need for the formulation of policy and strategy around Post Harvest Loss Management. The government of Zimbabwe, through this Ministry is in the final phases of putting these two crucial documents together.

A significant portion of this policy and strategy formulation is informed by the guidelines and work that has already been done by multi-lateral institutions in which Zimbabwe holds membership, particularly the African Union (AU) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The post harvest loss management effort is itself part of a broader Comprehensive Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) . The African Union (AU) Summit made the first declaration on CAADP as an integral part of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2003.

Within CAADP, National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIP) are a key instrument that seeks to guide public and private sector investments in land, labour, water, infrastructure and technologies to enhance agricultural production, productivity, market access in order to impact on poverty reduction, wealth creation, and food and nutrition security. NAIPs are developed based on gaps identified in various agricultural sectors to achieve set goals. The Malabo declaration has seven goals. The third goal commit to ending hunger in Africa by 2025. This commitment to ending hunger should be achieved through four components:

  1. Accelerate agricultural growth by at least doubling current agricultural productivity levels,
  2. Halve the current levels of Post-Harvest Losses, by the year 2025,
  3. Integrate measures for increased agricultural productivity with social protection initiatives,
  4. Improve nutritional status.

The policy and strategy documents on post harvest loss management are therefore aimed at addressing the second component in this list. Managing post-harvest losses requires a hierarchical approach which emphasizes prevention as the priority option for addressing food losses. Our approach to reducing food losses will be embedded within a broader framework for promoting sustainable food systems. Also, policies and strategies directed at reducing food losses will improve resource efficiency, environmental sustainability, and climate resilience. Gender and youth dimensions will also be considered.

National efforts to address PHL will be coordinated to avoid duplication. The private sector is a crucial partner in efforts to address food losses. A coherent policy and government regulations are needed to create an enabling environment that is conducive for the private sector to help reduce PHL.

Although these Post-harvest policy guidelines are primarily intended for incorporation and management at policy level, their installation or stage of implementation can be at macro, meso, and micro levels. The stage of implementation has been used to categorize them in the following table which sets out potential post-harvest initiatives which wee seek to incorporate into our policy and strategy documents. This categorization allows for a hierarchical approach to identifying PH gaps and implementing the interventions. Macro components relate to policy, regulatory environments and the systemic issues that cause loses at all levels. Meso components support clusters or a collection of actors, and they cut across value chains and finally, micro components support individual actors and are located along the value chain.

1.    Macro PH Components

These are linked to policy, regulatory environments and systemic issues that affect all levels.

1.1.      Create Conducive Policy Environment

1.1.1.     Develop a robust policy and strategy on post-harvest management;

1.1.2.     Provide sufficient budgetary resources for post-harvest activities at all levels.

1.1.3.     Monitor the implementation of post-harvest policy and strategies throughout the agricultural value chains.

1.2.      Institute A Mechanism To Coordinate Post-Harvest Loss Management

1.2.1.     Establish and strengthen post-harvest management platforms or technical groups with clear roles for effective advocacy and promotion of good practices in food losses and waste reduction.

1.2.2.     Ensure post-harvest coordinating, and institutional arrangements are sufficiently funded.

1.2.3.     Facilitate the monitoring and evaluation of postharvest loss reduction policies and strategies including PHL-related indicators with baselines.

1.3.      Implement Agricultural Systems That Support Loss Reduction

1.3.1.     Promote the use of healthy and certified cultivar which is tolerant to post harvest pests;

1.3.2.     Strengthening early warning systems to allow for appropriate post-harvest planning processes;

1.3.3.     Providing regular training regarding the determination of maturity indices for different crops including the determination of safe harvesting moisture levels.

1.4.      Research And Development On PH

1.4.1.     Promote the establishment and strengthening of post-harvest laboratories and technical centers to provide quality testing and research services.

1.4.2.     Key questions to answer are: What is the magnitude of losses? What solutions can address the causes?

1.4.3.     Policy measures should be directed at creating a suitable environment for research on post-harvest issues.

1.5.      Technology, Mechanization, And Practices

1.5.1.     Support the multiplication and importation of appropriate post-harvest technologies that are either adapted or developed locally

1.5.2.     Promote the uptake of appropriate technologies and practices by chain actors including the use of hired equipment where outright ownership is not possible;

1.5.3.     Facilitate access to finance to enable value chain actors to secure loans to purchase of appropriate post-harvest technology

1.6.      PH Extension Services And Training

1.6.1.     Promote the development of appropriate post-harvest training facilities including centres of excellence/incubation in post-harvest management.

1.6.2.     Enhance the provision of post-harvest management training at all ATVET centres and university levels;

1.6.3.     Enhancing post-harvest capacities of service providers & extension services

1.6.4.     Promoting learning alliances

1.6.5.     Promote improved skills development in all areas of post-harvest management

1.7.      Mainstreaming Of Gender And The Youth In Post-Harvest Activities.

1.7.1.     Strengthen the position of women and the youth post-harvest management activities.

1.7.2.     Develop and adopt appropriate labour saving technologies for use in postharvest management to encourage the participation of women and the youth.

1.8.      Environment And Climate Change

1.8.1.     Promote post-harvest management processes that have less impact on the environment and climate change, and that also encourage the regeneration of the environment

1.8.2.     Promote proper and safe use and disposal of pesticides and fumigants

2. Meso Post Harvest Components

These support clusters or collective actors and cut across value chains

2.1. Market Infrastructure

2.1.1. Promote the provision of adequate rural road infrastructure networked to the main road system to reduce losses incurred during transportation of commodities;

2.1.2. Promote the provision of ICT, energy, market facilities, abattoirs in rural areas to enhance farmer connectivity to the rest of the country.

2.1.3. Promote small scale rural based agro-processing and value addition to allow for the preservation of crops closer to source of production

2.2. Centralized Storage Systems

2.2.1. Facilitate the development of aggregation and centralized storage systems in key supply and demand areas.

2.2.2. Facilitate and promote the manufacture and distribution of efficient and affordable storage technologies

2.2.3. Support the implementation of the warehouse receipt system (WRS) and the certification of warehouses and ensure the inclusion of farmers under this system

2.3. Transport System

2.3.1. Upgrade and maintain feeder roads and main trunk road network infrastructure with the aim of improving the marketing of crops.

2.3.2. Support for the acquisition of appropriate vehicular modes for transporting commodities from district to regional markets.

2.4. Product Quality Standards

2.4.1. Establish a grades and standards regime for traded commodities including the testing facilities.

2.4.2. Promote quality differentiation through price incentives to minimize losses.

2.4.3. Build the capacity to enforce the application of a grades and standards protocol

2.4.4. Support and facilitate research and the necessary development institutions to develop the needed capacity for testing, standardization and effective implementation of grades and standards.

2.5. Standardization Of Systems And Processes

2.5.1. Promote standardization of the grain bag to the 50 kg standard used worldwide

2.5.2. Encourage the use of crates for easier transportation and protection of commodities.

2.5.3. Establish specifications including the material used in the manufacture of containers; bag measurements & construction patterns

2.5.4. Standardize handling processes, loading, delivery, stack construction, inventory control, fumigation to support WRS

2.6. Market Information Provision

2.6.1. Establish and promote the effective functioning of a post-harvest loss platform;

2.6.2. Develop an agricultural information management system (AIMS) to allow for reporting, monitoring and evaluation of various agricultural information system.

2.6.3. Implement the right to information/freedom of information act as it refers to market information

2.7. Structured Trade

2.7.1. Promote the establishment of commodity exchanges

2.7.2. Support the establishment of warehouse receipt system.

2.7.3. Inventory credit

2.7.4. Contract farming

2.8. Access To Finance

2.8.1. Promote the development of financing mechanisms, instruments such as lending guarantee schemes and innovative fund systems to finance post-harvest management investments.

2.8.2. Facilitate and encourage the financial industry system to extend services to smallholder farmers for their production as well as post-harvest requirements

2.9. Clustering Of Chain Actors

2.9.1. Promote the partnering of agribusiness, farming enterprises, and agro-processing to form clusters for mutual benefit in creating economies of scale and leveraging finance and investment.

2.9.2. Promote implementation of appropriate post-harvest management practices through clustering farmers for them to constantly supply presentable products.

2.9.3. Strengthen farmer organizations / cooperatives in their supporting role to farmers with emphasis on post-harvest loss reduction.

2.9.4 Promoting producers alliances for common commodities.

2.1. Agro-Processing

2.1.1. Promote linkages between agro-processors and farmers to develop strong supply links that reduce losses and improve chain efficiency.

2.1.2. Encourage agro industries to use traceable commodities so that producers derive maximum benefit from their efforts

2.1.3. Encourage farmers, cooperatives and unions to be involved in value addition to improve commodity quality and presentation to raise incomes and reduce losses.

2.2. Raise Awareness On Food Losses And Waste

2.2.1. Implement robust communication strategies to raise awareness of food losses and waste and their impact on food security, economic development, the environment and climate change.

2.2.2. Ensure the visibility of post-harvest policies and strategies, causes and impact of food losses and waste through relevant communication strategies.

2.2.3. Promoting knowledge sharing and understanding of postharvest losses and its causes

2.3. PPP

2.3.1. Sharing of public storage facilities belonging to the government result in better infrastructure solution high ROI

2.3.2. Through long contracts, the private sector assumes some of the risks and brings in skilled staff while chain actors benefit from reduce losses and improved supply chain efficiency.

2.4. Public Procurement

2.4.1. Policies should ensure public procurement practices are appropriate and do not lead PHL along value chain.

3.     Micro PH Components

These support individual actors and exist along a value chain

3.1.      Aggregation And Storage Technologies

3.1.1.     Promote the installation of suitable and affordable collection and storage structures at points along supply chain including household level, traders and community level (cold chains, hermetic storage in plastic bags or fully sealed plastic stores, or metal drums

3.2.      Improved PH Management At Actor Level

3.2.1.     Develop the capacity of chain actors in managing post-harvest activities

3.2.2.     Apply integrated pest control management

3.2.3.     Cost/benefit analysis to work out how affordable/ economic PHL solutions are

3.3.      Small Transport System

3.3.1.     Support the provision of labor saving small sized transport technologies suitable for household and community level use.

3.4.      Primary Handling

3.4.1.     Proper harvesting, drying, threshing and shelling (including proper equipment)

3.4.2.     Careful transport from field and along the chain.

3.4.3.     Monitoring humidity during drying to avoid mold growth

3.4.4.     Advanced planning on how much will be used, sold, stored and processed.

3.5.      Business Case

3.5.1.     Articulate the business case for action –the cost and benefits of reducing PHL need to be understood by private actors.

3.5.2.     Accessing market information and understanding seasonal price fluctuations for marketing decisions

3.5.3.     Commercial fees should be charged for PH services provided to farmers and actors at all levels.