Malawi Losing 10% Of Crop Harvest to Poor Storage
Ministry of agriculture has urged farmers in the country to adopt the use of improved storage facilities to minimize post-harvest losses which stand at 10 percent.
Spokesperson in the ministry Gracian Lungu, has told Zodiak on Wednesday that last year, over 400,000 metric tons of the staple grain of 4.5 million metric tons the country realized were lost due to poor storage among farmers.
He said this as farmers are harvesting in some parts of southern region of the country.
Though Malawi is still quantifying what it saved from using improved facilities, Lungu has encouraged farmers to use thematic bags and other facilities which keep their harvests safe from pests.
"Indeed, as a country we are losing 10% of food especially maize that we harvest and as of last year it was over 400,000 million metric tonnes. It is worrying because this food could feed the country for the period of one month.
"We are trying to train farmers on how they can store their harvests so that they should not be lost to pests. We are linking them to some stakeholders like NGOs and companies that sell thematic bags, such as PICS," Lungu said.
However, Ronald Chilumpha, an agriculture expert from Farmers Organization Limited while under-estimating the loss, has blamed it on inactive extension services to train farmers on how to store produce, such as the use of the thematic bags.
Chilumpha also says poor timing by food agencies; ADMARC and National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to purchase produce from small scale farmers is hugely contributing to the losses.
"At farmer level, that's where the problem is. Government can also intervene, we have ADMARC and NFRA if the grain is bought at right time so that farmers do not keep the grain for so long because we know they have capability to store," Chilumpha said.
This year, the country is estimated to realize 3.1 million metric tons down from 4.5 million metric tons of 2021.