New forum on post-harvest management established

Every year, millions of tonnes of food are lost as a result of problems with pest control, handling, storage, transportation and marketing - all post-harvest activities. To reduce these losses, FAO has announced the formation of a new forum on post-harvest technologies: PhAction.

PhAction is made up of ten organizations: the five members of the Group for Assistance on Systems relating to Grain After Harvest (GASGA) and five international agricultural research centres. The ten founding institutions of PhAction will share and distribute information on the latest post-harvest research and cooperate on designing and applying innovative new post-harvest technologies. PhAction will work with a range of public and private sector partners in developing countries.

PhAction's member organizations will be linked together and to the entire world through INPhO, the Internet-based information network designed and launched last year by FAO's Agro-Industries and Post-Harvest Management Service (AGSI). Each month INPhO receives more than10 000 visitors who are able to access, databases, documents and newsletters on developments in post-harvest research and technology. Post-harvest information is also available on CD-ROM. The first edition of the INPhO CD-ROM was released last year and the second edition is due out in October 1999.

Go to INPhO information network

9 August 1999


"Cultivating our futures": conference website launched

FAO has launched a new website in preparation for the FAO/Netherlands Conference on the Multifunctional Character of Agriculture and Land (MFCAL). The Conference will take place in Maastricht, the Netherlands, from 12 to 17 September 1999.

MFCAL is a high-level technical conference bringing together over 350 agricultural and environmental experts and policy-makers from around the world. Participants will consider analytical approaches and policy options to increase agriculture's contribution to food security, social cohesion, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.

The Conference is being organized jointly by FAO and the Dutch Government's Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries.The discussions and findings of the conference will assist the preparation of FAO's contribution to the upcoming Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-8), which will take place in New York City in April 2000.

The new website includes conference documents and contact information and allows access to the Web forum that will run during the conference period.

"Cultivating our futures": FAO/Netherlands Conference on the Multifunctional Character of Agriculture and Land

9 July 1999

Guide to maize marketing for extension officers

Zambia: traditional on-farm maize storage
FAO/17831/A. Conti

FAO has published "A guide to maize marketing for extension officers" designed to help them in their work with small-scale farmers in eastern and southern Africa countries that have recently liberalized their maize marketing systems. These include all maize-producing countries from Kenya in the North, to South Africa in the South.

With the move away from centralized grain boards, extension officers need to know how the new system operates, so that they can support farmers in adapting and taking full advantage of the opportunities the new system offers.

The guide sets out to enable extension workers to answer vital questions like:

  • what should farmers grow?
  • how do they obtain seed and fertilizer?
  • how can farmers locate and finance their input purchases?
  • what drying and storage facilities do they need?
  • what are the production and marketing costs?
  • how can they be helped to market maize?
  • who is currently buying maize?
  • how much should farmers sell and when?

Covering the basic principles of private-sector grain marketing, on-farm crop-drying and storage, and crop diversification issues, the guide will also be valuable to extension workers in other parts of Africa and beyond.

FAO has published two other Marketing Extension guides: "Horticulture marketing extension" (available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic) and "A guide to marketing costs and how to calculate them" (available in English, French and Spanish).

Agricultural Marketing
Maize Marketing Extension

1 July 1999

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