Effectiveness of knowledge and skills development programmes in improving productivity of smallholder farmers’ organizations: post-harvest management of fruits and vegetables in Tanzania
This study assessed the effectiveness of the delivery of knowledge and skills development programmes in improving the productivity of smallholder farmers. The study identified the post-harvest handling skills acquired and their effect on productivity, including yield, quantity of crop loss after harvesting, and income of farmers. Quantitative and qualitative data of a representative of 255 beneficiaries were captured through interviews with the aid of structured questionnaires. The quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Qualitative data were also gathered through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews.
The average farm monthly income of farmers before and after the training were $41.12 and $72.96 respectively. The mean yield before the training for round potatoes and cauliflower were 1905.13kg/acre and 976.11kg/acre respectively, which significantly increased to 2696.13kg/acre and 1415.42kg/acre respectively after the training. Results indicated that skills for post-harvest handling of fruits and vegetables were acquired during the training. These skills contributed significantly to decrease post-harvest loss of fruits and vegetables and increase yields and average incomes.
The overall effect of the development programmes on the productivity of smallholder farmers was positive. However, to further improve productivity, the farmers need more training on post-harvest handling management, climate resilient agricultural practices, and prevention of pest invasion.
Keywords: Knowledge, Post-harvest loss, Productivity, Income, Climate resilience