Farm Radio International, the Ottawa, Canada-based nonprofit Thursday flagged off its Reducing Post-Harvest Loss through Social and Behaviour Change Communication (RePHL) project on tomato value chain in Nigeria.
Farm Radio prides itself as the only international non-profit exclusively dedicated to serving African farming families and rural communities through radio; the RePHL project is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation as part of their wider YieldWise initiative being implemented in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.
“Our Reducing Post-Harvest Loss project will develop a communication strategy encompassing radio, television, cellphones and mobile videos that will bridge the gap between farmers’ awareness and adoption of improved farming practices as well as technologies that reduce post-harvest loss,” said Mweruka Pascal, a radio and craft development officer at Farm Radio International while addressing journalists in Kano, Nigeria.
“An estimated one-third of harvested food never makes it to plate. Fruits and vegetables rot in the field, spoil at the market, or go unused at home. In sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of root crops, 50% of fruits and vegetables and 20% of cereals are lost before they hit the market, with more lost between purchase and consumption. Cutting post-harvest losses means more food for farmers and communities, and more income too.”
Pascal said reducing post-harvest loss by smallholder African farmers could only be achieved if farmers were better connected to markets and also supported to meet the needs and expectations of buyers as well as given access to existing or new technologies to fight pests, store their crops and transport them to the market.
“All of this requires effective, interactive communication and knowledge exchange platforms to bridge the gap between awareness and use of these techniques and technologies,” he said.
Farm Radio International (FRI) will be implementing the RePHL project in Nigeria with the support of the Institute for Media and Society (IMESO), Pyxera Global, and TechnoServe.
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