Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste

Lessons from the SDC capitalization of experiences exercise on PHM Programs in SSA


Lessons from the SDC capitalization of experiences (CAPEX) exercise on Postharvest Management (PHM) Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)

In 2008, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) started supporting PHM initiatives in SSA. These was built on the successful results of the POSTCOSECHA Programme  in Central America, which prompted more than 400,000 smallholder households to adopt the metal silo technology. Currently, four SDC-funded PHM projects are in their final phase, while one concluded a few years ago. All of these projects have had similar objectives and a shared thematic focus, using much the same approaches. Their common goal has been “to increase food security of smallholder farmers in SSA through reduced postharvest losses at farm and community level’.

Through these projects, SDC together with other stakeholders has contributed significantly to increasing Africa' s knowledge base on PHM. Focusing on particular regions or countries, the SDC-funded projects have been implemented by several UN agencies—the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and World Food Programme (WFP)—and other international agencies, local NGOs and government partners. In 2017, the SDC’s Global Programme Food Security (GPFS) decided to phase out post-harvest management as a core thematic focus by 2020/2021. As a phase out strategy, SDC decided to conduct a “Capitalization of Experiences” (CAPEX) as a learning exercise to compile and analyze the key insights, lessons learned, identified factors of success or failure etc. of the projects, to culminate in a learning event.

The CAPEX exercise consisted of two parallel studies of the five SDC-funded PHM programmes in eight countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania). The studies were guided by specific strategic and operational questions that enabled to answer and document experiences made. HELVETAS – in view of its planned future engagement in postharvest management – played a leading role in developing the conceptual framework of the CAPEX and in implementing the learning process. These CAPEX studies were culminated in a CAPEX workshop that took place from 22 – 25 October 2019 in Arusha, Tanzania, and conveyed a wide array of stakeholders from practitioners, government representatives, private sector representatives, NGOs and academia. The main lessons learned include the relevance of successful PHM strategies for poverty reduction and food security, need for a self-sustaining market system and creation of effective demand for PHM technologies and institutionalization of PHM at all levels.

The final deliverables of the CAPEX study are now available for public access HERE

Photo: RBA joint project staff at CAPEX in Arusha, October 2019