Department of Agriculture in collaboration with the Committee for Economic and
Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC)
Monday commenced a 5-day sub Regional
training forum on the reduction of post harvest losses in Cereals for
improve rural livelihood.
The training that attracted participants from various countries in the area of extension, researchers and food processors, was held at Khamsys Center in Bijilo.
The Acting Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Sariyang Jobarteh, stressed that handling and processing commodities requires the necessary technical knowledge and expertise.
He however added that researchers on post harvest issues are very scarce in The Gambia and the benefits that could be gained from them are poorly acknowledged.
“In this respect, identifying the specific causes of post harvest losses through producing and prioritizing the data related to the post harvest losses in strategic commodities are crucial for ensuring food security,” he declared.
He said the relevant sectors do not have the necessary institutional mechanisms to directly deal with the levels and specific causes of post harvest losses.
In this regard, establishing coordinating mechanisms would be very instrumental for identifying causes of post harvest losses, sharing the good practices and raising awareness.
According to Mr Jobarteh, the low capacity in post-harvest management leads to an estimated 15-22% post-harvest losses in cereals alone.
For her part, Madam Ramatoulie Hydara, Director of Monitoring and Evaluation at the department of Agriculture, said that post harvest losses reduction is linked to the quest to promote food security, alleviate poverty, create income generation opportunities, foster economic growth of African countries and the entire Islamic Umma.
She added that post harvest loss was especially critical for grain cereals, pulses and oil seed, as these sectors constituted the predominant staples of many African communities.