The main challenge in the handling of vegetables is to maintain the quality of the products from harvest to consumer. This is where the Horti-Sempre project intervenes by facilitating the introduction of packaging solutions and simple equipment adapted to the economic reality of producers in rural areas.
Thanks to a “four-days” training-modules in harvest and post-harvest practices, many producers have adopted these practices and have seen their access to markets improve. One of them, Mr. Andrisse Moisés, reveals how the practices have benefitted him: "The grading table and the packaging in net-mesh bags have brought a new dynamic to the way I market onions. Previously, I used to sell my onions in bulky bags of over 100 kg for the same price as four 10 kg sorted bags as I am now doing. Thanks to Horti-Sempre, I now store and bag my onions correctly and sell them at a good price without having to depend on middlemen. "
Just like Mr. Andrisse Moisés, more than 500 producers and technicians (from 30 public and private organizations) have learned about good packaging, storage and transportation practices in the training facilitated by the Horti-Sempre project. However, good post-harvest handling is not only a key to maintaining quality, preserving nutrient content, and gaining higher market prices, but also to reducing post-harvest losses of fresh produce. With almost half of all vegetables wasted before they can be sold, interventions related to post-harvest handling are important. Through the training, the farmers have learned how to combine their business knowledge to extend innovative post-harvest solutions, creating value in crops that otherwise might be lost or wasted. "The post-harvest knowledge training has enhanced our traditional techniques and I have started stocking my products to sell at the right time. For example, last year I kept most of my onion harvest (22,000 kg) well stored in my two warehouses until there was more demand and prices became more favourable in January and February this year," added Mr. Andrisse Moisés.
The Horti-Sempre project is financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by Swisscontact and seeks to improve the livelihoods of local small-scale horticultural producers through adequate facilitation that enables access to relevant products and services which 30% in an increased capacity to produce and compete in the market.