As part of the Technical Assistance component of the Global Strategy, three missions were organized in Zimbabwe to provide support in the areas of Harvest and Post-Harvest Losses.
The first mission, which took place in June 2017, served the purpose of streamlining the programme of activities. The second one, in November 2017, had the purpose of training key stakeholders on statistical methods for the estimation of post-harvest losses as well as proposing and validating a questionnaire for the collection of data on post-harvest losses through farmers’ declarations and objective measurement.
Following these two missions, the proposed questionnaire was revised, a sampling strategy elaborated and a manual for enumerators was developed by the national partners for a field test. During the third mission, in March 2018, field staff (enumerators and supervisors) were trained. The training session took place in the Province of Chinhoyi where the pilot test will be conducted. During the one-week training, the questionnaires were presented to the enumerators and supervisors and a pre-test for 25 farmers was organized in the district of Makonde. In the meantime, demonstrations were carried out on the placement of sub-plots and the sampling of grains in farmers’ storage.
The data collection operation started on 2 April 2018 with the listing of enumeration areas (EAs), sampling of farmers and placement of sub-plots. Two categories of farmers were considered: the communal farmers, who own small plots, and the A1 farmers, who own larger plots. For the communal farmers, 20 EAs were sampled and in each of them, 15 holdings will be interviewed; and for the A1 farmers, 11 A1 farms were sampled and in each of them, 5 farmers will be interviewed.
Following the collection of three samples of grain from the farmers’ storage, interviews will take place during the harvesting period, planned from mid/end of April until August 2018.
Through this activity, the Ministry of Agriculture is carrying out experiments in research centers to measure losses using different technologies of harvesting (including threshing etc.) as well as seed varieties. This can be regarded as a first step towards the integration of the methodologies proposed by the Global Strategy into the Ministry’s plan.