A 4-day Training of Trainers (ToT) in Horticultural Chain Management focusing on Reduction of Post-Harvest losses in Horticultural Chains in SAARC countries was organized in Godawari.
The ToT was organized by Post Harvest management Directorate of the Department of Agriculture with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
In an agriculture-based venture, specifically for horticultural perishable crops, application or implementation of better production and postproduction practices/technologies and the acquisition of competence, through capability building, by the horticultural industry stakeholders to undertake such activities, will bring about reduction of losses and enhancement of produce quality and safety attributes which consequently bring about more effective supply and better prices for the produce.
It is in this context that the FAO Technical Cooperation Project on the reduction of postharvest losses was conceived and is being implemented in SAARC countries where huge postharvest losses in economically important fruits and vegetables are incurred.
During the sessions of the ToT it was elaborated that postharvest loss in food commodities is a contributory factor to food insecurity. With more losses, there is less food available for the population, resulting in increased cost per unit of food and further making it difficult for low income families to avail the needed amount of food.
According to the press release issued by FAO, the amount of losses in horticultural crops (fruits, vegetables, cauliflowers, and herbs) is much higher than in durables (grains, pulses, nuts). In SAARC countries, losses in fruits and vegetables ranged from 20-44%. Specifically in Nepal and Sri Lanka, losses in fruits and vegetables ranged from 20-30% and 30-48%, respectively.
In the session of the ToT, the participants were given orientation on the inherent perishable nature of horticultural crops, more specially if subjected to adverse conditions of the postharvest environment and improper handling practices.Other factors that cause the losses include lack of awareness by stakeholders and poor access to postharvest technologies and inefficiencies in the distribution system from production to major consumption areas aggravated by poor infrastructure and logistics.
Capability building activities include, among others, the conduct of awareness-raising seminar, hands-on training, field and market visits, preparation of and dissemination of information materials so that they are able to efficiently and effectively provide technical backstopping and advice to stakeholders of the horticultural industry.
Capability schemes were also discusses in the session to establish of good postharvest supply chain management – a postharvest system improvement approach, of two crops (mandarin orange and cauliflower) and piloting the improved supply chain management system to serve as models for replication in other crops and in other production areas.
In the closing session, Dr. YubakDhwaj G.C., the Director General of the Department of Agricultural gave away the certificates of merits to the participants.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr G.C. expressed the hope that the skill imparted in the training will ultimately bear the fruits in coming days with quality of produce maintained throughout the supply chain, bringing about consumer satisfaction, increased income of small producers and more food available to the growing population contributing to the attainment of food security of the country.
Sabnam Shivakoti, Program Director Post-Harvest management Directorate, thanked the facilitators and the participants. She also extended gratitude to FAO for technical support.
Dr.Edralina Serrano and Dr. Elda Esguerra were the facilitators.
Twenty-two government officers working in the District Agriculture Development Offices and the different units of Ministry of Agricultural Development participated in the ToT.