Addis Ababa, ENA, October 19/2012 The country is still losing more than a quarter of the total crop produced during the post-harvest season each year, though four years have elapsed since the plan to reduce the loss to 15 percent was planned.
Crop Development Director-General at the Ministry of Agriculture, Esayas Lemma told ENA that the ministry planned to reduce post-harvest loss by half in the Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II).
He said: “We planned to reduce post-harvest loss from 30 into 15 percent at the end of GTP II. But the loss is still up to 30 per cent of the crops produced. That means the loss is more than 25 kilograms per quintal.”
About 300 million quintals of crops have been produced on average each year during the past 5 years, the director-general added.
According to Esayas, the loss can be cut by expanding mechanized farming. But the use of technology is low. So, “we are lagging behind in terms of using technology.”
The director-general pointed out that “introducing combiners for harvesting and using irrigation and modern storages have been given much focus on GTP II in order to reduce post-harvest loss. We are building modern storages for cooperatives in 14 woredas, in cooperation with Food and Agriculture Organization.”
The major loss occurs during harvesting, which is 15 percent of the total loss, he stated.
Esayas revealed that FAO has been supporting the ministry through capacity building and training of small and medium scale enterprises in the past three years. About 15,000 farmers in the 14 woredas are benefiting from the assistance, it was learned.
More than 85 percent of Ethiopia’s estimated 100 million population depends on agriculture for livelihood.