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“LAST year, I harvested 10 oxcarts and this year, the number has increased to 20. With the addition of the post-harvest loss management knowledge, I am set to make more sales as the quality of my produce will be better,” a joyous Ngambo Chikomba, a farmer of Lilonga area in Boma East camp said.
Ms Chikomba is one of the farmers trained in post-harvest handling and storage. The training focused on ensuring that crop loss is averted during transportation, using drying cribs and final storage and hermetic bags.
In an interview, Ms Chikomba said the knowledge she acquired was imparted in order to avoid crop losses and that her grain was in the drying crib s to ensure that it does not have mould during shelling.
“After shelling it, I will sort out the maize and put it in an airtight silo to ensure weevils and other insects do not survive in there,” she said.
Ms Chikomba said that the skills she had learnt through this activity would help her to sell high quality grain and have enough money to buy school supplies for her children.
She explained that her household of 15 members would have enough and more nutritious food following the acquisition of this crop handling knowledge.
Not using appropriate harvesting and storage practices is blamed for the loss of between 30 to 100 percent of farmers’ produce. Therefore, with new practices being taught to farmers, it is expected that this number will be low in the district.
The training was organised and supported by the World Food Programme funded component of the Strengthening Climate Resilience of Agricultural Livelihoods in Agro-Ecological I and II in Zambia (SCRALA) being implemented in Sesheke District in Western province. -NAIS

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