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February 27th, 2019 / CropNuts, Kenya

Post harvest losses in Kenya are startling as revealed by recent stats from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS)

In 2017, Sh150 billion worth of food went to waste, tossed out or left to rot, a report that tries to track food waste has said. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), farmers lost earnings as they struggled to manage, store, and transport their produce to the market.

The growers lost over 1.9 million tonnes of food, even as millions of Kenyans grappled with starvation fuelled by debilitating drought.   Maize, Kenya’s staple food, was the hardest hit, with farmers losing Sh29.6 billion to post-harvest losses, including rodents and poor handling. The harvest was also affected by aflatoxin, a toxin produced by fungi due to exposure to moisture.

The volume of maize lost during this period – about six million bags – is the equivalent of what the country gets from the short rains of September to December, experts said.   

Kenya imported maize worth 42 billion, using hard-to-come-by foreign currency to buy cereal it could easily produce. Tonnes of green bananas were also lost, with farmers foregoing over Sh. 24 billion in a year when the food security situation in the country plunged to a 10-year low.

Other produce that went to waste due to poor storage and handling, transport, and fungi attack, according to data contained in the 2018 Economic Survey released last week, includes Irish potatoes (Sh19.7 billion), milk (Sh12.4 billion), beans (Sh11.5 billion), bananas (Sh5.6 billion), sweet potatoes (Sh3.5 billion), tomatoes (Sh2.4 billion), pineapples (Sh2.4 billion), sorghum (Sh1.9 billion), and millet (Sh1.6 billion). Read more …