The Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield has investigated the reasons for post-harvest loss of crops produced in the Morogoro region of Tanzania. A recent study, led by Dr. Pamela Abott from the University's Information School, focused on three perishable or semi-perishable crops: onion, tomato and sweet potato.
Farmers were surveyed on multiple stages of the food production process, including harvesting, primarily by hand; transportation, mainly through head-carrying and by motorcycle; storage, processing, and handling of crops.
The report, which was produced in collaboration with a team from the University of Dodoma led by Dr. Kalista Higini, assessed post-harvest loss at various stages of the food production cycle. Highlighting the different causes, the available technology and information and knowledge sources applied, and proposed recommendations to reduce crop losses.
The research illustrated how farmers are caught in a vicious cycle of continuous harvest and post-harvest loss, leading to poor profits and a subsequent inability to invest in innovations or improved techniques.