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Cycle 8 (2019 Deadline)

Enhancing postharvest technologies and food safety innovations in fresh tomato value chain

PI: Yasinta Muzanila (, Sokoine University of Agriculture
U.S. Partner: Yaguang Luo, United States Department of Agriculture/ Agricultural Research Service
Project Dates:  November 2019 - October 2020

Project Overview:

Although tomato is the dominant vegetable crop produced in Tanzania, it exhibits amongst the highest postharvest losses in the horticulture sector, ranging between 30% and 60%. Various initiatives have shown limited success and no marked effect on postharvest loss reduction in Tanzania. Most of these initiatives are based on a single component of postharvest loss solutions. While past studies suggest the use of a holistic model for postharvest loss reduction, the impact of this model has not been tested in the tomato value chain. By working with partners across the public and private sectors, this PEER project model integrates the building of local capacities through innovative training; the uptake of innovative, small-scale, appropriate postharvest technologies; and research into intersectoral collaboration. The goal of the study is to contribute to improving the productivity of smallholder farmers and reducing postharvest losses through capacity building and uptake of innovative postharvest technologies. The key activities of the project include (1) assessing farmers’ knowledge and behavior regarding postharvest technologies in the tomato value chain; (2) developing a postharvest technology plan in the tomato supply chain; (3) evaluating food safety improvements and quality changes of the postharvest technology plan; and (4) providing training on suitable postharvest handling practices.

The project will leverage the resources and technical support of the U.S. partner Dr. Luo in developing cost-effective postharvest technologies and sanitizers to ensure the quality and microbial safety of tomato. Dr. Luo will participate in the preparation of tailor-made food safety extension materials for capacity building to farmers, extension staffs, and postharvest handlers. The project will integrate its activities into the mainstream of the Tanzania Horticultural Association and local government authorities to operate most efficiently. The project beneficiaries are smallholder farmers, including women and youth, who will be specifically targeted for participation. It is expected that by the end of the project at least 150 smallholder farmers and traders will try out new or improved postharvest handling practices to ensure produce safety, quality, and quantity.

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