The project is aimed at improving postharvest handling, storage, processing and marketing of tomatoes in Burkina Faso. Tomatoes are an important crop for increasing household resilience and nutrition. However, the farming of tomatoes is largely at a subsistence level and farmers face many challenges, in particular low bargaining power due to a supply glut. Given the current market situation, postharvest solutions that increase the quality and shelf-life of tomatoes through improved postharvest handling, storage, packaging and processing will alleviate many farmer challenges and make the crop more lucrative.
The project team will:
- conduct a market assessment of tomatoes to understand the main causes of postharvest losses and explore new, improved marketing opportunities for tomato farmers
- build capacity in local horticulture specialists to become trained postharvest specialists who can broadly disseminate knowledge to tomato farmers
- establish a Postharvest Training and Services Center (PTSC) to conduct adaptive research on postharvest handling and storage technologies, as well as research on improved tomato processing techniques
- promote adoption of these postharvest technologies through collaboration with local agricultural entrepreneurs and by hosting a grants competition and conference
In addition, the project team will conduct trials of tomato seed varieties for various characteristics including planting during rainy season. The newly established Postharvest Training and Services Center will serve as the central home for all of the project's efforts.
Note: The request for this research project — including identifying local research needs — was developed in a collaboration between USAID/Burkina Faso, the USAID/Sahel Regional Office and the Horticulture Innovation Lab.