This report was created by the Horticulture Innovation Lab's project, Reducing postharvest losses in Rwanda. The project aims to understand and identify the most efficient ways to reduce postharvest losses in Rwanda. Through postharvest innovations and interventions, this project works to help farmers and agribusiness enterprises gain better return on investments by adopting appropriate technology and reducing postharvest losses.
Summary of banana losses in Rwanda
Bananas are a main staple crop in Rwanda, with widespread cultivation, consumption and cultural acceptance. Key challenges in the banana segment include disease, perishability and cost of transport. Postharvest in general was less of an issue for this crop than for the others, though potential for collection centers and / or centralized storage options may exist.
Summary of postharvest losses and quality problems for the crop
- Farmer knowledge: Harvesting practices are rough and cause damage to the produce
- Temperature management: Bananas are exposed to the sun during transport and marketing, and there are no cold chains or cool storage facilities for bananas, Transportation
- Transportation: Cooking bananas are transported as bunches, and are handled roughly, leading to various losses along the chain. Bicycles and trucks are overloaded for the transport of produce for long distances.
- Farmer organization: Farmer cooperatives are not properly organized, which has led to lack of bargaining power for selling their produce to traders
- Processing: There are limited processing options for cooking bananas, and poor quality packaging.
To understand the postharvest losses in the green bananas value chain, the project conducted three types of analysis: Value Chain Analysis, Commodity Systems Assessment Methodology (CSAM) and Environmental Lifecycle Analysis.
Postharvest losses were measured using a modified Commodity Systems Assessment Methodology (CSAM). The CSAM is a methodology for describing and evaluating the planning, production, postharvest handling and marketing of agricultural commodities. The modified CSAM includes interviews of stakeholders, observations of handling practices, and direct measurements of quality and quantity losses throughout the value chain (see page 26).
Also used was a life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA is a standardized procedure used to determine the environmental impacts of products services or goods. Primary data was collected from growers and areas within the postharvest supply chain through interviews and surveys (see page 45).
A value chain analysis was completed in order to identify constraints. The analysis was completed using interviews with key actors, site visits, and a literature review (see page 11).