Postharvest management in Sub-Saharan Africa

Project completed

Ethiopian policies recognize that a significant portion of food produced using scarce resources such as land and water is lost due to inappropriate postharvest management practices, and also negatively affects household food security. To reduce these food losses the project implemented by the Government of Ethiopia with technical assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will raise awareness, develop capacities of farmers and other actors, disseminate improved practices in selected regions and formulate a postharvest management policy.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Agricultural development
Agricultural policy
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
SME development
01.09.2012 - 31.05.2018
CHF  3’334’000

In Ethiopia, food grains constitute the major source of food, accounting for up to 82 % of total calorie intake and food expenditure. At least 30% of this production is lost annually whereas about 15% of the population is food insecure. Poor postharvest management practices are the major reason for this level of losses. So far, limited effort has been made to reduce these losses but global and national awareness is rising: it is becoming clear that not only increased agricultural production is needed to improve food security, but also reduced postharvest losses. Some initial assessments even show that household food security can be substantially improved by reducing postharvest losses.


The overall goal of the project is to contribute to food security through the reduction of crop postharvest losses in Ethiopia.

Target groups

The direct beneficiaries of this project will be smallholder men and women farmers and primary cooperatives. A total of 7’500 households in four Ethiopian regions are expected to directly benefit from the project. Out of these, at least 30% will be female headed households. Traders, processers, Community-Based Organisations and the emergency food reserve administration will indirectly benefit from the project. In addition, unemployed youth, both male and female, will be trained and organized into artisan groups to be manufacturers of equipment related to postharvest management technologies. In the selection of technologies, practices and approaches, careful analysis will be done to ensure that interventions promote gender equity.

Medium-term outcomes
  1. Knowledge, attitude and practice of smallholder men and women farmers, development agents, youths and others on postharvest losses changed/improved;
  2. Human resource and institutional capacity on postharvest management strengthened;
  3. Good practice options for reducing post harvest losses are compiled, disseminated and scaled up and out to smallholder farmers of both genders;
  4. Postharvest management policy and strategy formulated.



Results from previous phases:  

According to the consultations and field assessment conducted during the opening phase, the root causes of the high postharvest losses in Ethiopia include:

  • limited awareness;
  • lack of appropriate and affordable technologies and practices;
  • knowledge, information and capacity gaps;
  • fragmented postharvest management interventions;
  • lack of policy guidance.
These insights were used to design strategic interventions for reducing postharvest losses in Ethiopia as well as the formulation of this project.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Food and Agricultural Organisation

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’334’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    3’315’596
Project phases Phase 2 01.07.2018 - 31.12.2022   (Current phase)

Phase 1 01.09.2012 - 31.05.2018   (Completed)