Post-harvest losses in African maize in the face of increasing food shortage
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Maize is the most important food staple for resource-poor smallholders in Africa, providing food and income to millions. One of the key constraints to improving food and nutritional security in Africa is the poor post-harvest management that leads to between 14 % and 36 % loss of maize grains, thereby aggravating hunger. Post-harvest losses contribute to high food prices by removing part of the supply from the market. Reducing post-harvest losses in maize is an essential component in any strategy to make more food available without increasing the burden on the natural environment. Solving the post-harvest management problems in maize will require cooperation and effective linkage among the following: research, extension, agro-industry, marketing system and favorable policy environment. Biological and socio-economic causes of post-harvest losses in maize in Africa are discussed in relation to climate change and food security, and strategies to reduce the post-harvest losses are suggested.
KeywordsAfrica Food security Maize Post-harvest insect pests Post-harvest losses
I wish to thank the CIMMYT for supporting this work and Dr Rick Hodges of Greenwich University, Natural Resources Institute, for his critical comments to the first draft of this paper.
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