Building capacity in the field: Angelique’s story

By Angelique Uwamahoro, co-founder of Food Sustainability Initiative, Rwanda

I was very fortunate to participate in a postharvest e-learning program offered by The Postharvest Education Foundation (PEF). I graduated with a rich package of information and skills from PEF in 2017. Learning never ends. I am presently using the knowledge acquired from PEF by training, sensitizing and providing services to farmers, sellers, transporters, packers, storage operators and all people involved in postharvest handling on good postharvest technologies and management.

The online, self-paced delivery mode of the program motivated me to enroll in the PEF e-learning program. It allowed learners to gain practical skills and gave enough time to explore postharvest via field work and case studies. PEF also provided postharvest tool kits for the learners who successfully completed the programs. I acquired new knowledge in cooling techniques, evaluating the cost and benefits of improved practices, postharvest loss assessment, and designing a Postharvest Training and Service Center (PTSC).

Food Sustainability Initiative (FSI) is a legal NGO I co-founded in Rwanda, whose mission is to build the capacity of people to sustain food and nutritional security through innovative approaches. It operates by grouping small-scale farmers into cooperatives and supports them through cooperative professional development activities by providing business development services like strategic planning, business management, supply and operations management training. FSI’s technical support also includes assisting small-scale farmers with special training on quality management systems and improvement of postharvest handling at the cooperative level.  We advocate for them to gain access to new agriculture technologies to ensure appropriate quality, improved farming methods, and the use of higher yielding variety of crops, and reduced losses to increase the income of the smallholder farmers.

After graduating from PEF as postharvest specialist, several workmates and I at FSI were able to:

a) conduct an assessment of postharvest losses for potatoes;

b) train potato farmer cooperatives on improved practices for:

  1. improved postharvest practices
  2. Precooling after harvest
  3. cleaning
  4. Sorting and grading
  5. packaging
  6. transportation
  7. storage
  8. structures and conditions and construction of affordable storages
  9. costs and benefits analysis

I advise other organizations in the area of agriculture to build the capacity of people to sustain postharvest development and capacity building by delivering innovative, affordable and long-lasting solutions for future generations.

On behalf of FSI’s board members, I take this opportunity to announce that we sincerely need individuals and organizations who may partner in any way with FSI for the successful implementation of its ongoing projects to support the households for improving postharvest agribusiness while improving food and nutrition security in Rwanda. For more information, contact us by email: info@sustainfood.org, Tel:+250788691468, Rwanda.

I deeply thank the Postharvest Education Foundation (PEF) team for establishing free e-learning programs on postharvest technology. 

For more information, you can visit the PEF website, www.postharvest.org

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