Capacity building on produce postharvest management in Tanzania


At the American Society for Horticultural Science Conference in 2019, Eleni Pliakoni presented the work of her team on capacity building in Tanzania with regards to postharvest management. The presentation reviews the success they have had working with university teachers, as well as local extension and grower groups, on trainings for various postharvest innovations and methods.

Postharvest losses in Tanzania

Postharvest losses of fresh horticultural crops in Tanzania range from 20-50 percent, with the main causes being limited postharvest facilities, lack of technology, and access to knowledge. This project aims to improve the capacity of faculty and support staff at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania on the postharvest management of horticultural crops and to better train undergraduate and graduate students, extension agents, farmers and other stakeholders working with fresh produce. To meet this objective, three trainings were organized and conducted — one for university faculty, one for extension trainers, and one for producers.

University training

  • Objective: Support curriculum development for a Master of Science program in Horticulture, and improve and develop undergraduate and graduate postharvest classes
  • Process: Sokoine University of Agriculture faculty trained on curriculum development, teaching methods, pedagogy, mentoring undergraduate and graduate student
  • Outcomes: Master of Science program for Horticulture, Instructor Guide developed, and additional interested garnered by Rwandan partners

Train the trainer

  • Attendees: 5 Sokoine University of Agriculture staff and 55 extension staff from local governments and agriculture
  • Topics covered: Product quality, harvest maturity, cooling principles and UC Davis technology, package of fresh fruits and vegetables, crops, postharvest diseases, food safety, drying principles, postharvest management practice, food safety, sorting and grading, packing demonstration, pack-house demonstration, cooling experiment, postharvest demonstration, quality experiment, hydro-cooling, and solar dryer

Train the growers

For these trainings in eight villages, 305 farmers in Iringa and Morogoro participated. The outline of the training was:

  1. Expectations, opening remarks and introduction
  2. Discussion on what farmers are concerned about for postharvest management of fruits and vegetables
  3. Harvest maturity, harvest practices, sorting, and grading
  4. Temperature management, and cooling practices
  5. Techniques for prevention of mechanical damages, and packaging techniques for transportation