Home Business Post-harvest losses impeding growth of Pakistan’s agri sector: WealthPK

Post-harvest losses impeding growth of Pakistan’s agri sector: WealthPK

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FAISALABAD May 09 (INP) — The post-harvest losses are impeding the growth of Pakistan’s agriculture sector, and farmers need modern methods and infrastructure to tackle this challenge.

“We have to take practical measures to curtail the post-harvest losses as it’s a crucial issue, which is hitting the agriculture produce,” Dr Ahmed, a faculty member at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, underscored.

Talking to WealthPK, he said the varsity was striving to develop modern techniques that could help farmers get maximum yields by minimising losses. “We can ensure prosperity for our hard-working farmers by combating post-harvest losses,” he said.

“From harvest to consumption, we are facing degradation in quantity and quality of food products, and we have to arrest this trend. The majority of farmers are illiterate, requiring proper and ongoing training to cope with emerging challenges,” he stressed.

Ahmed said post-harvest losses could be categorised as quality, nutritional, and weight loss due to spoilage, and commercial loss.

Baba Haq, a farmer from Sargodha Road, told WealthPK that they were still employing methods learnt from their elders to get yields and store their grain. “We need modern methods for grain storage to avoid financial losses amid climate change challenge.”

He said climate change was impacting the agricultural patterns, necessitating the adoption of the latest practices.

Dr Nadeem, an agriculture expert, said a report of the Asian Development Bank mentioned that Pakistan suffered post-harvest losses of a staggering $1.3 billion per annum. He said it’s a huge loss for a developing country like Pakistan.

He urged policymakers and agricultural experts to help minimise these losses.

“We have to stop propaganda that our farmers are illiterate and not ready to accept new technology. We have to ensure farmer’s access to the latest technologies at affordable rates. The high cost of agricultural inputs creates many issues for growers,” he added.

“By empowering farmers, we can boost our agriculture sector, increase food products exports and ensure food security.”

Nadeem said farmers were forced to employ traditional storage methods as they lacked modern storage infrastructure, resulting in weight loss, quality degradation and a higher risk of infestation.

Baba Haq, the farmer, said they could not avail themselves of modern storage facilities and urged the government to establish cold storage accessible to farmers at affordable rates.
“Inadequate storage and transportation facilities are spoiling our hard-earned yields.”

Mohsin Raza, another farmer, told WealthPK that post-harvest losses were painful and alarming. “Every year, we see a significant portion of our yields go to waste because of poor handling, lack of transportation and improper storage facilities,” he added.

“Farmers cannot do anything on their own as making available such facilities requires hefty amounts.”

He said grains, fruits and vegetables were highly susceptible to spoilage and government officials were well aware of this issue. “However, nothing is being done to save farmers from such losses,” he said, adding that the post-harvest losses were serious threats to national food security.

Mohsin said farmers were still employing centuries-old practices like rudimentary mud structures or open-air storage. “Such practices are detrimental to yields and unable to battle humidity, extreme temperatures and pests.”

Similarly, he said some grains also needed proper ventilation, but the traditional practices could not ensure ventilation, leading to spoilage.

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