Postharvest Losses in Ethiopia and Opportunities for Reduction: A Review

Dubale Befikadu


Agriculture is important for addressing food security problems in Ethiopia. Stimulating agricultural growth will therefore be the major instrument for increasing the income of the country in general and households in particular. Agriculture contributes to overcome the food security problem through growth that distributes its benefits as widely as possible and through food production increases by the rural poor. In order to help and to address the problem of small scale agriculture towards development into a modern production sector, strengthening the postharvest sector or system is essential. Estimates suggest that the magnitude of postharvest loss in Ethiopia was found tremendous for different cereal grains that can go as high as 30 to 50 percent. It is important to understand that postharvest losses in both quality and quantity since it is related to lost income and /or value of commodities produced and hence part of measure and primary concern to bring a food secured nations through modern agricultural production. Postharvest quantity and quality loss of cereal grains in developing countries appears to be initiated mostly at farm-level, so the potential remedies for the problem are needed at the same level. This review of postharvest cereal grains postharvest losses, contributing factors and possible mitigation remedies has been prepared focusing on Ethiopia situation that has cereal production potential and multiple suitable agro-climates. These are useful in quantifying the national magnitude of losses, the prevailing loss agents and relate the same to food security in the country. In a country where production is much lower than the national demand and is characterized by the level of post-harvest loss stated above, a great effort is needed in the area of generating technology that minimizes this loss.

This could be in the form of technologies, which inhibit the growth of pests and provide proper storage facilities, appropriate packaging materials and transportation facilities required to minimize losses and increase the shelf life of the food grains. A remedial suggestion on suitable approaches to loss reduction in postharvest handling of cereal grains was reviewed.


Abiotic; Agents; Biotic; Factors; Losses; Postharvest; Remedies.

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