Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why increase food production only to loose it to spoilage? Need for proper post harvest management systems presents youth with both an opportunity and a challenge..

“Food security” may have different interpretations to different people but basically, it may mean having an adequate supply of food materials to feed the population from one harvest period until the next. In this context, food security is going to be defined as above and vary somewhat and include safety and quality aspects such as absence of physical, chemical and biological contamination.
Among factors contributing to food security, safety and quality problems such as lack of hygiene, waste handling, theft, erosion of indigenous species, ancillatory effects and spoilage, loss due to spoilage accounts for the highest percentage; 50%. This notwithstanding, governments continue investing in increasing agricultural productivity rather than in post harvest management and hence my big question; Why increase food production only to loose it to spoilage? 
Below are the simplest ways of drying maize for storage 

Seed preservation 
Drying maize for storage
In light of this, there is need to look at cheap, efficient and readily available ways of preserving food – and in this context, drying. Food drying is a very simple, ancient skill. It is one of the most accessible and hence the most widespread processing technology. Sun drying of fruits and vegetables is still practiced largely unchanged from ancient times. Traditional sun drying takes place by storing the product under direct sunlight and it has evolved to the use of solar dryers.Postharvest losses in Africa have opened a vista of untapped opportunities for agro-processors willing to invest in the sector giving youth a perfect entry point. These opportunities come at a time when crop improvement programs by NGOs and national partners are offering better varieties and increasing yield. 

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