Agricultural post-harvest Innovative technologies and access to niche market: Experience from Gataraga IP, Rwanda

Type Journal Article - Learning Publics Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Studies
Title Agricultural post-harvest Innovative technologies and access to niche market: Experience from Gataraga IP, Rwanda
Volume 2
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 1-23
Limited capacity for post-harvest handling and processing often undermines the profitability of farming
particularly during years of bumper harvest. Notably, the perishable nature of many agricultural
products limits their access to profitable markets thus dwindling income of small farmers. Hence,
enhancing post harvest technologies is the critical strategy to add value to the food crops so as to
increase price and move millions of African small farmers from poverty. As part of its initiatives,
FARA through its developmental approach namely Integrated Agricultural Research for Development
(IAR4D) has been working with small farmers through the Sub Saharan Challenge Program (SSA CP)
to link them with markets that offers a better price which will help them to reap from farming activities.
The SSA CP has promoted Innovation Platforms (IP) within which all concerned stakeholders develop
innovative technologies, processes, institutions for improving the efficiency of value chains. This is
done among others by initiating innovative post-harvest technologies which are appropriate to the
conditions of the area and crop grown. These technologies serve twin purposes: the increased shelf-life
of the product and enhancing accessibility to niche markets which offers higher prices. The objective of
this paper is to assess the effect of Irish potatoes post-harvest handling (cleaning, sorting, grading, and
packaging) on the price basing on experience from Gataraga IP. The research is based on secondary
data collected from several writings on the subject, data from Gataraga IP on sales, price and frequency 2
of potatoes delivery to various niche markets. The study results showed that since the inception of the
innovative post-harvest technologies (cleaning, sorting, grading and packaging) and linking farmers to
niche markets in Kigali the farm gate price of Irish potatoes has increased on average 30% compared to
ordinary price. This also implies the increased income to 30% for farmers who sale their produce
through group marketing organized at IP level in Gataraga.

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