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MISSING GRAINS- Post- Harvest Loss in Maize in Kakamega, Western Kenya

Karmebäck, Vera LU (2013) SGED10 20131
Department of Human Geography
Abstract
Globally, around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted. This means a decrease in food available to meet global food demands, but also a loss in resources used for production, transportation and processing. With agricultural production currently facing new challenges including population growth and, increasingly, climate change, ensuring productivity and sustainability in agricultural practices becomes ever more important. Reducing food loss and food waste carries the potential to considerably increase the efficiency of the whole food chain and reduce the unnecessary waste of natural resources.

Maize is the main staple food in Kenya, contributing more than a third of daily caloric intake by the average Kenyan. The Western... (More)
Globally, around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted. This means a decrease in food available to meet global food demands, but also a loss in resources used for production, transportation and processing. With agricultural production currently facing new challenges including population growth and, increasingly, climate change, ensuring productivity and sustainability in agricultural practices becomes ever more important. Reducing food loss and food waste carries the potential to considerably increase the efficiency of the whole food chain and reduce the unnecessary waste of natural resources.

Maize is the main staple food in Kenya, contributing more than a third of daily caloric intake by the average Kenyan. The Western provinces are the so called “bread basket”, where most of the country’s maize is grown. This paper seeks to present a holistic view of the extent of, reasons for
and challenges around post- harvest losses (PHL) in maize grain among smallholder farmers in Lugari District of Western Kenya. The empirical study involves 45 household interviews, four key informant interviews with stakeholders from both local and international institutions as well
as two group discussions. It shows that losses in maize grain occur at all stages of the postharvest value chain, summing up to a total loss of 8.6 % of the latest maize harvest. There is scope for improvements at each stage of post- harvest handling, but the analysis shows that the
type of small scale farmers surveyed in this study are largely excluded from external actors’ initiatives aiming at PHL reduction. Considering that 80 % of the food produced in Kenya, as in most developing countries, is produced by small scale farmers, it is crucial that initiatives and
extension services expand their reach to include all farmers. PHL reduction has not yet received sufficient attention on the institutional level, and even if its importance and potential contribution towards food security is increasingly recognised, it has not yet been sufficiently
acted upon.

This study does not specifically seek to come up with generalizable practical solutions for PHL, but rather seeks to show that PHL needs to be tackled from a holistic and integrated approach, taking into account the local sociocultural and socioeconomic context. This is in line with the sustainable agricultural intensification approach, which forms the background of this study. The main goal of sustainable agricultural intensification is to increase productivity through increasing agricultural output in relation to unit of inputs as well as to undesirable outputs. This study argues that PHL reduction is an effective component of an integrated approach towards achieving the goal of sustainable agricultural intensification, and can have far- reaching impacts on food security and economic development. (Less)
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author
Karmebäck, Vera LU
supervisor
organization
course
SGED10 20131
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Kenya, maize, post- harvest losses, sustainable agricultural intensification
language
English
id
3997793
date added to LUP
2013-09-12 11:45:12
date last changed
2013-09-12 11:45:12
@misc{3997793,
  abstract     = {Globally, around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted. This means a decrease in food available to meet global food demands, but also a loss in resources used for production, transportation and processing. With agricultural production currently facing new challenges including population growth and, increasingly, climate change, ensuring productivity and sustainability in agricultural practices becomes ever more important. Reducing food loss and food waste carries the potential to considerably increase the efficiency of the whole food chain and reduce the unnecessary waste of natural resources.

Maize is the main staple food in Kenya, contributing more than a third of daily caloric intake by the average Kenyan. The Western provinces are the so called “bread basket”, where most of the country’s maize is grown. This paper seeks to present a holistic view of the extent of, reasons for
and challenges around post- harvest losses (PHL) in maize grain among smallholder farmers in Lugari District of Western Kenya. The empirical study involves 45 household interviews, four key informant interviews with stakeholders from both local and international institutions as well
as two group discussions. It shows that losses in maize grain occur at all stages of the postharvest value chain, summing up to a total loss of 8.6 % of the latest maize harvest. There is scope for improvements at each stage of post- harvest handling, but the analysis shows that the
type of small scale farmers surveyed in this study are largely excluded from external actors’ initiatives aiming at PHL reduction. Considering that 80 % of the food produced in Kenya, as in most developing countries, is produced by small scale farmers, it is crucial that initiatives and
extension services expand their reach to include all farmers. PHL reduction has not yet received sufficient attention on the institutional level, and even if its importance and potential contribution towards food security is increasingly recognised, it has not yet been sufficiently
acted upon.

This study does not specifically seek to come up with generalizable practical solutions for PHL, but rather seeks to show that PHL needs to be tackled from a holistic and integrated approach, taking into account the local sociocultural and socioeconomic context. This is in line with the sustainable agricultural intensification approach, which forms the background of this study. The main goal of sustainable agricultural intensification is to increase productivity through increasing agricultural output in relation to unit of inputs as well as to undesirable outputs. This study argues that PHL reduction is an effective component of an integrated approach towards achieving the goal of sustainable agricultural intensification, and can have far- reaching impacts on food security and economic development.},
  author       = {Karmebäck, Vera},
  keyword      = {Kenya,maize,post- harvest losses,sustainable agricultural intensification},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {MISSING GRAINS- Post- Harvest Loss in Maize in Kakamega, Western Kenya},
  year         = {2013},
}