By [email protected]
Many farmers today make loses due to poor packaging and storage of their farm produces after harvesting. Beans, maize and other farm produces mainly cereals lose value if poorly stored after harvesting them. Agribusiness entrepreneur Joyce Atuhire 25, has however come up with an idea that will also provide a solution to this problem. LinkmeUg caught up with her.
LinkmeUg: When did you come up with such an idea?
Joyce: It was during the different interactions with the farmers that I realised that post-harvesting losses were the biggest challenge farmer face. Farmers incur losses of about 30% of the grain after harvest. I had to think of how to help them overcome the problem.
LinkmeUg: What solution did you come up with?
Joyce: The solution to this problem is better packaging with PICS bags. I import these bags from USA. Packaging with PICS bags will also provide natural, pest and chemical free food to the society.
LinkmeUg: How do PICS bags work?
Joyce: Well, it’s a three in one bag. It is made of three polythene papers of high gauge. The bag creates a suffocating environment that can kill any living organism. So, provided a farmer packs the dry grains or cereals and seals the bag properly, nothing can affect the produce for a period of at least 2 years.
LinkmeUg: Why introduce such a solution?
Joyce: The main reason of introducing PICS bags is to reduce produce ‘perishability’ and increase farmers’ income.
LinkmeUg: Where do you intend to sale this product?
Joyce: My plan is to reach out to small holder farmers through dealers who reach farmers directly. I also focus on selling to schools and prisons services. These buy produces like beans and posho in bulk which makes it hard to store this produce.
Joyce Atuhire is also the director, Development & Research Associates (DRA) Her innovation of PICS bags has been taken up by farmers and several schools in Kiryandongo District for a year registering good results. She says, her aim is to reduce post-harvest losses by 90 per cent by 2017.
Poor storage of farm produce especially beans leads to infestations by pests known as weevils. Faced with such devastating losses, many farmers don’t want to risk storing their produce so they sell their grains at harvest when prices are lowest. If well stored in PICS bags in the off-season, prices can almost double.
From Joyce’s business, you realize that you can enter agriculture at any level; you just need the right idea.
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