Stakeholders Identify Ways To Reducing PHL In Tomatoes Value Chain | Independent Newspapers Limited
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 Stakeholders Identify Ways To Reducing PHL In Tomatoes Value Chain

tomatoes
Posted: Nov 11, 2016 at 2:34 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase

Lagos

Finding a lasting solution to Post Harvest Losses (PHL) in Nigeria’s tomatoes value chain was the main focus of a two day workshop organsied by the Initiative for Global Development (IGD), in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation’s Yieldwise initiative, in Lagos.

Stakeholders present at the workshop deliberated on how post harvest losses in Nigeria, put to about 40 percent of  its nearly 2 million tons production can be reduced to the barest minimum and also unlock potentials in the Nigeria’s tomatoes value chain.

Participants also recognized the need for stronger business linkages and cross-sector partnerships and alliances across Nigeria’s tomato industry to cut post-harvest losses.

Speaking at the workshop with the theme; “Making Markets Work: A Private Sector Workshop on Reducing Postharvest Loss and Unlocking Potential in the Nigerian Tomato Value Chain” IGD Senior Advisor, Helen Mant, said the workshop sought to lay the foundation for stronger partnerships between companies to catalyze effective collaboration to achieve value chain efficiencies and address gaps and bottlenecks.

“IGD partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation’s YieldWise initiative for this action-focused workshop to bring together African private sector perspectives to find innovative and practical solutions to minimize crop losses and to build an efficient, productive food chain.”

Mant leads IGD’s participation in the Yieldwise initiative to promote private sector engagement and identify market-led approaches to reducing post-harvest loss in targeted value chains.

Market-led solutions put forward by participants would involve connecting aggregated smallholder farmers to structured market demand, unlocking access to PHL-reducing technologies and finance, and influencing key actors to prioritize investments in loss prevention.

Business leaders at the workshop stressed the importance of building an integrated value chain in the tomato industry.

Mira Mehta, founder and CEO of Tomato Jos emphasized that smallholder farmers and processors must work together to meet local market demands and scale the local tomato industry.

“It will take two to three years to get smallholder farmers ready to go and then also to get the processing facilities prepared to produce on the scale that is needed to meet demand in Nigeria.

We need to be doing the work to get the system in place in the meantime,” said Mehta.

During a “shark tank” style session, participants shared solutions to address challenges in the value chain including railway transport, cold chain solutions, solar water pumping, centralized mini-grids for pre-processing, mobile agro-tech solutions, and collapsible plastic crates.

how to create an enabling environment for Nigeria’s tomato industry to achieve business growth and reduce post-harvest loss was also raised at the workshop.

Participants in a policy session identified their top policy obstacles to business growth and bolstering the incomes of smallholder farmers, and collectively committed to addressing these issues through the development of  private sector-led, multi-signatory policy paper to be shared with top Nigerian policymakers.

The workshop concluded with participants committing to forming a private sector working group together that will focus on advancing the Nigerian tomato value chain and reducing PHL, and to creating an information repository that will serve as a “one stop shop’ for best practices, production results and case studies, curriculum, contacts and knowledge on storage, solar, cold chain, and logistics solutions, as well as market intelligence and pricing data.