Bellagio Statement on Post-harvest Management
A workshop was held at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center (11-15 September 2017), inspired by discussions with the YieldWise Initiative, focused on market-based approaches to scale up successful Post-Harvest Management (PHM) experiences, drawing on lessons from Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation organized the event which brought together 20 senior scholars, leaders, policymakers and practitioners including from the private sector, dedicated to leveraging the vast potential for greater effectiveness in reducing food losses ( Agenda ).
Participants discussed how effective, accessible and affordable are existing improved PHM options for smallholder farmers particularly for grains supply chains; successful systemic market approaches for scaling up improved PHM solutions and sustainable business models; as well as the need for policy dialogue and awareness raising on PHM to engage policy and decision makers in setting up an enabling environment and committing resources.
The outcomes of the discussions served for the elaboration a Call for Action on Post Harvest Management (available soon). It is a collective commitment to collaborate and scale-up actions on PHM in a sustained, coordinated and mutually supportive ways from all stakeholders in the agricultural system, farmers, aggregators, traders, retailers, PHM technology and service providers, financial institutions, governments, donor agencies, the media and research and academic institutions. It will address the following key components:
Awareness raising and effective coordination: stimulation of action at all levels in order to encourage PHM investment, tailored messages, and use of appropriate channels for each target group at different levels (Advantages of good PHM practices from an economic, environment and health perspective for each group);
Coordination and coherence of approaches: establishment of an active coordination function/unit, ideally multi-institutional integral to the sub-national, national, and regional post-harvest platforms. It will define and agree on non-negotiables for concerted actions such as focusing subsidization on demand creation (i.e. awareness raising, training) rather than on the products (e.g. equipment) themselves. It will also nurture PHM ecosystems by identifying and capitalizing on synergies between market system actors, and build on what has worked in the past); focus the energy on promoting proven technologies and integration with business models rather than developing new technologies.
Integrated PHM and investment along value chains: catalyze investments in PHM practices, technologies and services at various levels, encourage aggregation and premium for quality; encourage entrepreneurship (small and growing businesses) to move PHM practices, technologies, services closer to the farm gate, and to improve access to finance and information for financing at multiple levels; improved public investment in PHM including quality insurance services for food safety and food security (local and national food supply), enforcement of food safety standards by Governments and enabling environment conducive of investment (and finance available) in PHM; Strengthening of rural advisory services (RAS) systems to take up PHM agenda. Demonstrate tangible benefits to farmers from PHM investments: development partners to demonstrate PHM practices, technologies and services for an appropriate amount of time and funding with an exit strategy to show what is feasible for local entrepreneurs and investors to scale up; Foster vertical integration by promoting positive recognition of companies investing in PHM, responsible and/or safe food supply, identify and influence policies and investments that are limiting private sector investment in PHM; PHM needs to be seen as an employment generator. Governments need to recognize that investing in PHM can incentivize youth involvement in agriculture and agro-processing.
Effective advocacy and policy dialogue: institutionalize multi-stakeholder PHM policy dialogue forums and platforms at different levels: national, regional and continental to facilitate non-state actor participation and engagement on policy processes; The AU needs to put the spotlight on PHM by declaring an annual focus on ‘promoting PH technologies value chains and market opportunities’ as the theme of the year and organizing high level meetings at regional and continental level to discuss different components of PHM.
Presentations included the following:
Aviva Kutnick, USAID, USA shared information on Smart subsidies to expand rural agribusiness finance in Ghana.
Mireille Totobesola, manager of the UN RBA joint project on food loss reduction funded by the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency – SDC shared information on the driving factors and constraints for supply and availability, accessibility and acceptance among smallholders of PHM technologies piloted in different contexts in Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. She highlighted the differences in contexts and commonalities, factors such as agro-climatic conditions (dry vs. humid), availability of the equipment on the market or not, costs of investments and access to finance, gender issues such as women’s workload. She also shared that as demand increases as a result of the training and pilot activities, there is a need to ensure access to finance for smallholders who are willing to invest in more costly options, and to increase supply, which requires information of potential suppliers (artisans, manufacturers, distributors) on business opportunities. To ensure a sustained market pull more trainings of potential end users, quality control and insurance of equipment sold on the market need to be assured by public institutions or accredited independents parties, an enabling environment including actions such as incentives (e.g. waiving taxes on importation), facilitated access to good quality materials for building silos (e.g. metal sheets). The project manager informed that the 2nd phase of the joint project addresses these aspects supporting results based development of national policies and strategies conducive of PHM and FLR at scale.