Post-Harvest Losses, Intimate Partner Violence and Food Security in Tanzania

Abstract: High levels of food losses occurring after harvesting offset the effort to increase food production. This situation increases the risk of food insecurity and low incomes among smallholder farmers. But, my project finds that training farmers on better grain-handling practices after harvesting and the use of hermetic bags can reduce food losses, increase farmer’s income and address food insecurity challenges. I conducted a study which analysed the drivers, size, and consequences of food loss among maize farmers in Kilosa district, in Tanzania. I find that farmers lose one out of every eight bags they harvest and that the largest part of these losses (two thirds) occurs during storage. I also find that farmers who employ good grain-handling practices after harvesting: timely harvesting, sorting of maize after harvest, use of modern storage facilities and use of storage pesticides experience lower losses. Additionally, I find that large food losses are associated with a household’s poor food security status. In another study on this project I analysed the impact of two interventions aimed at reducing food losses after harvesting: the first is training on better grain-handling practices, and the second is training on better grain-handling practices combined with the provision of hermetic bags. I find that both interventions lead to lower loss during storage, and provision of hermetic bags generates higher benefits. The benefits of both interventions outweigh their costs; thus, are worthwhile investments. There is potential to address food insecurity by saving the food. The third study investigates gender-related violence within households as a crosscutting issue in addressing food insecurity. Food security status of a household depends, among other things, on the well-being of those who produce and organize the preparation of that food. Violence may affect the well-being and productivity of women who are involved in food production and preparation. The study seeks to test the hypothesis that intimate partner violence correlates with household food insecurity. No strong empirical evidence of the effect of abuse of women on household food security in either rural or urban areas is found.

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