There is a strong need for the country to establish more industries to process agricultural products in the country. This is in view of the fact that over 40% of agricultural products are lost due to
- High farm gate price – many farmers try to maximize earnings as soon as they harvest their products on the farm. But consumers tend to have higher bargaining powers. This is because middle men take advantage of the fact that harvesting is done on all farms in the same area around the same time. Consequently, the farm market is flooded with similar produce. Farmers are forced to sell so they will not carry spoilt goods back to their villages and homesteads.
- Inadequate storage facilities
- Poor and improper storage facilities
- Lack of Cottage industries to process the goods into finished products.
- Poor sales between farm and table.
In order to minimize farm losses, it is important to ensure the efficiency of the entire agricultural
value chain from farm input supply, cultivation, harvesting and identification of Off-takers long before
the onset of harvesting.
If Processors abound, then it is possible that losses will be greatly minimized. Let us take TOMATO as an example, farmers lose a lot of their harvest due to spoilage. But if there are adequate industries, the tomatoes can be harvested and transported to the tomato Processing factory. Here, the tomato is processed into various products namely
a) Tomato Puree – bottled, sachets, tube
b) Tomato Ketch-up
c) Tomato Soup
d) Tomato Jam
e) Tomato Paste
f) Tomato Plum – whole tomatoes canned in tomato juice.
The list of business opportunities in the Tomato processing industry is endless. Small, Medium and Large scale entrepreneurs can easily go into this business. Farm wastage will be reduced, there will be a monetization of the rural economy if the industry is sited in the tomato producing area. More youths will be employed.