Post Harvest Management Workshop in Rwanda

A significant portion, estimated at 30-40%, of horticultural produce in Rwanda goes to waste, lost during harvesting, post-harvest handling, storage, and transportation from farms to retail markets. For instance, according to a report by Feed the Future Horticulture Innovation Lab (2019), post-harvest losses for tomatoes amount to 21% at the farm level, 11.5% at the collection point, 10% at the wholesale market, and 13.6% at the retail market, totalling 56%. These losses are primarily attributed to inadequate planting systems, lack of proper harvesting equipment, insufficient skills in post-harvest handling, and inadequate cooling infrastructure. 

To address this issue, the Horti-Export Phase II project initiated by IDH and with the support of GIZ, aims to reduce net post-harvest losses to less than 30% along the supply chain. In pursuit of this goal, a four-day post-harvest management workshop was organised. The workshop aimed to demonstrate best practices in harvesting, product handling, improved packaging materials, cost-effective solutions available in the market, simple value addition and processing practices, product distribution, as well as tools and logistics to assist SMEs and cooperatives in reducing food losses along the value and supply chains. 

The workshop’s primary objective was to equip project beneficiaries with practical strategies for reducing post-harvest losses, ultimately enhancing food security and farm income. Approximately 35 participants from partner SMEs (PRODEV Kayonza, Virunga Biotech, SOUK FARMS, DAVET LTD, ZEAN LTD, and AGASARO ORGANIC LTD) and cooperatives (GIKADINI, KOJYAMUNYA, ABAKORANAMURAVA, KOTEMII, HUMU, KUNDUMURIMO, COPROBUS) involved in fresh produce and export attended the training. They gained practical knowledge, skills, insights, and inspiration from packhouse operations, fostering positive changes in product handling practices and supply chain management. 

Participants highly valued the acquired knowledge and skills in harvest and post-harvest management, yield estimation, and optimisation of cold chain processes for various crops. They committed to replicating and cascading the training at the farm level to ensure proper harvest handling along the value chain. 

[Note: 15 participants attended the first two days with DAVET, VB, SOUK, and PRODEV + their cooperatives, while 20 participants from ZEAN and Agasaro attended the second and third days.]