Reduced Loss with Less Labour Inputs
In most farms in the country, the loss of grain in the post-harvest period accounts for more than 15 percent of total crop production on average. Due to a lack of proper farming machinery, farmers cut crops by hand using a sickle and pile them in stacks. Limited transportation capacity means that the stacks remain in the field for days or even weeks, waiting to be transferred to the threshing centres. During that period, the crops absorb moisture and need to be dried before they are milled and stored for consumption.
- Applying proper harvesting practices and making wise choices for investment
- Reduced grain loss results in an increased yield
Natural drying of grain is a simple process of laying them out on a concrete floor for wind and sunlight, but few farms have enough space for this. It is more common for farmers to carry the threshed grains to the nearest paved areas, which are often roads or driveways one or two kilometres away, and take them back for storage. In order to dry tens of thousand tonnes of grain that a farm produces, farmers will have to make countless trips to the nearest pavement, carrying the grains either in an ox cart, wheelbarrows or, as is often the case, on their backs. Unexpected rainfall during this season can compound their workload.
The project chose one work team from each of the six target farms for the demonstration project and carried out training for members of the work teams in order to raise awareness of the causes of post-harvest loss and best practices to minimise the loss and reduce their workload. At the same time, the project constructed concrete flooring measuring 333 square metres with rain shield for each work team and provided simple, yet efficient, equipment for harvesting, such as mobile threshers and two-wheel mini-tractors for transportation.
As a result, farmers in these work teams are harvesting and threshing most of the crops directly from the field and taking them to the nearby sheltered drying centres. They avoid weeks of unnecessary labour to dry the grain and have reduced grain loss by about 50 percent, according to recent estimates. Reduction of grain loss means an increased yield for the farmers, which ultimately increases revenue for farms.
Having seen the positive results, other work teams and farms in the region are now becoming aware of the advantages of applying proper harvesting practices and making a wise choice for investing their revenue.