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2017-05-23 | News | Pressrelease

Airtight bags for maize reduce food waste

Martin Julius Chegere

Food insecurity and malnutrition is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today.  By introducing airtight bags and train small-scale farmers in better grain handling practices, food waste related to storage can be reduced in Tanzania.  

These are the findings from a recent dissertation in economics from the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg.

One out of eight bags of maize goes to waste for Tanzanian small-scale farmers mainly due to storage problems. This is equivalent to a Tanzanian median household income for one month.

‘Our results imply that reducing post-harvest loss can increase farmer´s income and food security. Also production of food that goes to waste leads to unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions says Chegere’.

The study finds that both training of farmers and the introduction of airtight bags are cost effective interventions for the government. Therefore, Chegere´s recommendation to policy makers is to acknowledge the fact that it is economically feasible for small-holder farmers to adopt airtight bags for maize storage. To save even more of the harvest, the introduction of airtight bags should be accompanied with training on post-harvest management.

‘I hope the findings and implications of my work will be used to address food loss challenges and improve small scale farmers' livelihood, which is a major problem in Tanzania,’ says Martin Julius Chegere.’

After defending his thesis, Chegere has returned back to the University of Dar es Salaam to continue teaching and doing research in the areas of development, agriculture and natural resource economics.

Martin Julius Chegere defended his thesis: Post-Harvest Losses, Intimate Partner Violence and Food Security in Tanzania, on May 23, at the School of Business, Economics and Law. Martin has been part of the Sida funded doctoral program in Environmental Economics at The Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg. After defending his thesis, Chegere will return back to the University of Dar es Salaam to continue teaching and doing research in the areas of development, agriculture and natural resource economics.
Link to dissertation: https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/52253