Importance of Community Participation in Reducing Post-Harvest Loss
Nicolao, a farmer in the Timor Leste – Viqueque program, lives with his wife Martinha and their two children. Each year he prepares his soil and plants maize, just like the other farmers in this remote and rural part of the country. Maize is the staple grain for most families here, and Nicolao depends on a good harvest so his family can have enough to eat throughout the year.
Nicolao plants what seeds are available to him, which are not the improved varieties, so he often has low yields when it is time to harvest. After harvest he stores the grain as best he can, but he still loses between 25% and 30% of his crop each year to mold, rodents, and weevils. There just is never enough to last throughout the year. Some of his neighbors sell their maize right after harvest. Although the prices are low, they at least receive something for their work instead of watching it rot, or be eaten by rodents.