Log in / Register
Home arrow Economics arrow Finance for Food
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >

2.3 Post-harvest Losses as a Factor for Farm Income

Applying technologies to reduce post-harvest losses has a positive impact on the quality and quantity food supply to the markets and therefore a positive impact on food security. An increased supply of food will, in general, contribute to lower the cost of food for the benefit of the urban and rural poor.[1]

Depending on the activity – if on-farm or off-farm in the farmers' range of activities – a reduction of losses directly influences the farmers' income due to an increased volume and quality of produce he or she can sell. While the gains from reducing post-harvest losses can be significant, there are also costs associated with those efforts. Thus, the investments to reduce post-harvest losses must have a positive return to be attractive for a farmer or a group of farmers in case of a shared use.[2] Whereas the application of some technologies of reducing losses on the farm (like on-field handling, cutting, drying or on-farm transport and on-farm storage) can also benefit subsistence farmers, all technologies related to marketing produce (like for instance transport to markets, packaging) will increase income only for commercial farmers who sell their surplus.[3]

  • [1] See Zorya el al. (2011), pp. 19-20.
  • [2] Zorya et al. (2001), pp. 21-35, give several examples of low-tech and low-cost postharvest loss reduction technologies for cereals.
  • [3] The authors are only aware of one study that estimates or measures the impacts of reduced post-harvest losses on income and profit of farmer households. Fischler et al. (2011) evaluate the POSTCOSECHA programme in four Central America countries that consisted of a massive stimulation of production and use of small galvanized metal silos for rural households. The study shows that subsistence farmers keep almost the entire production for covering own consumption needs and by using the metal silo they have increased their food security by 30 to 35 days per year. This effect of safely stored grain (mainly maize) in metal silos for later consumption is considered the most important aspect (savings from less need to buy grain and increased resilience). Farmers with market access, on the other hand, additionally benefitted from the metal silo since they have increased their income by selling parts of their safely stored grain not at harvest time but later during the season when the prices are higher. The average additional cash income generated in this case is reported at 90 US$/year (or 5% of the average annual cash income per family of 1800 US$) and equals approximately the actual price of a 545 kg silo. This means that the study does not measure the isolated income effect of the reduced post-harvest loss only, but the overall effect which is intermingled with effects resulting from deferred sales. In addition to the benefits for the farmers, the analysis reveals positive income effects for the around 800 to 900 small-scale tinsmiths producing the silos, and it argues that the programme has significant price stabilizing effects in the region.
Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >
Business & Finance
Computer Science
Language & Literature
Political science