By Ndafadza Madanha
GERMANY based company RIELA is in the country to scout for opportunities in the area of post harvest management.
Post harvest management entails drying, cleaning, sorting and packing of a crop immediately after harvest. The instant a crop is removed from the ground, or separated from its parent plant, it begins to deteriorate.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in many developing countries, overall post-harvest losses of cereals and grain legumes of about 10 to 15 percent are fairly common. In some regions of Africa and Latin America, higher rates are found: up to 50 percent of the quantities harvested.
Reila which is represented by its founder Professor Karl Heinz Knoop said it had capacity in a wide range area of post harvest and management and offered solutions for all levels of agriculture production.
Knoop said farming was a business and there was need to equip African farmers with the necessary technology to thrive.
The company has about 15 contacts in Africa and has set up a number of post management facilities such as metal silos on the continent.
Among its other post harvest management offerings are cleaning, drying and facilities, with the company having recently set up huge silo plants in Tanzania, Nigeria, Namibia and Uganda.
“We have been on the African market for the last 3-4 years. In Zimbabwe we are here to look at the opportunities and whether our products have a market. Once we have established that there is demand for our products then we move in.
We have capacity to tailor make products that meet the requirements of our customers. For instance our smallest has capacity to hold 2 tonnes and the largest can 40 000 metric tonnes of grain. We also have manual threshing equipment for small holder farmers looking so we have solutions for every level of production”.
Director of Mechanization in the ministry of Agriculture Rabison Gumbo said the country was desperate for post harvest technology investment and welcomed the interest of Reila in setting up base in the country.
Zimbabwe has experienced an upsurge in post harvest losses particularly with maize farmers as they are turned away from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) owing to the high moisture content of their grain.
He said government was keen to see all its silo depots in the country have dryers so that no farmer is turned away because of high moisture content.
Gumbo said the country currently had 12 silo depots of which 10 are concrete and the remaining metal. He said the country was looking at building an additional 76 silo depots to cater for increased production of crops.