Government ponders on improved storage facilities
Chipata, May 27, ZANIS ——Government has disclosed that effective and proper storage of agricultural produce plays vital role in enhancing food security.
Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Bert Mushala says it is for this reason that there is need to come up with new and improved storage methods that could minimise losses of grain at postharvest.
Mr Mushala said this in Chipata today in a speech read for him by the Assistant Secretary Beenzu Chikuba during the official opening of a two days Improved Postharvest Training Course on Metal Silos for Extension and Media personnel.
He explained that government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has been spending a lot of money in production component of the sector in a bid to improve farmer productivity and production.
He however noted that yields in grains especially maize have largely been wasted through various forms of losses such as storage pests.
Mr Mushala said to this effect improved storage technologies such as metal silos and hermetic bags can be useful in reducing grain losses in maize therefore resulting in food security and improved incomes for small scale farmers.
He added that sufficiency in food grains in the country does not just depend on increased production but also through minimising losses in field and at storage level.
He further noted that there cannot be wealth creation for farmers without proper storage of the grain produced.
The Permanent Secretary has also implored the media and extension officers to create more awareness on the importance of using improved technologies for grain storage.
He also thanked the Swiss government for funding the metal silo project which is aimed at improving grain storage through new technologies.
And speaking earlier, Project Leader Tefera Tadela disclosed that Africa and Zambia included losses over US$ 4 billion annually in poor harvest storage management.
Dr Tadela said this loss has impacted negatively on the improving of food security for most African countries.
He said it is for this reason that there is need for Africa to have concerted efforts in storage management through reducing post-harvest loses.
The metal silo project is currently being implemented in Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The workshop has drawn participants from Katete and Chipata which are being used as project implementation sites.