Abstract: A pilot Postharvest Training and Services Center (PTSC) was launched in October 2012 in Arusha, Tanzania as part of a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project. The five key components of the PTSC are (1) training of postharvest trainers, (2) postharvest training and demonstrations for local small-scale clientele, (3) adaptive research, (4) postharvest services, and (5) retail sales of postharvest tools and supplies. During the years of 2011–2012, a one year e-learning program was provided to 36 young horticultural professionals from seven Sub-Saharan African countries. These postharvest specialists went on to train more than 13,000 local farmers, extension workers, food processors, and marketers in their home countries in the year following completion of their course. Evaluators found that these specialists had trained an additional 9300 people by November 2014. When asked about adoption by their local trainees, 79% reported examples of their trainees using improved postharvest practices. From 2012–2013, the project supported 30 multi-day training programs, and the evaluation found that many of the improved practices being promoted were adopted by the trainees and led to increased earnings. Three PTSC components still require attention. Research activities initiated during the project are incomplete, and successful sales of postharvest goods and services will require commitment and improved partnering.
Kitinoja, L., D.M. Barret. 2015. Extension of small-scale postharvest horticulture technologies-a model training and services center. Agriculture. 5(3): 441-455. doi:10.3390/agriculture5030441