Horticultural Chain Management for Eastern and Southern Africa: A Practical Manual

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Dharini Sivakumar, Divine Njie, Hester Vermulen, Lise Korsten, Rosa Rolle
01 Mar 2009
9781848590380 (PDF)

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Horticultural Chain Management for Eastern and Southern Africa is a two-volume work designed to help trainers develop suitable materials to assist small farmers and producers to supply high quality horticultural produce for sale.

This Theoretical Manual takes trainers through a step by step approach of progressive learning. It provides the trainer with a platform of information that can be used to design and tailor-make courses applicable to the context in their respective countries. Each section is concisely presented in a modular format and is followed by or linked to a practical exercise. On completion of each section, participants are required to share information assimilated during a plenary discussion session. Participants must also apply the knowledge acquired through practical experiments or tasks.

Throughout the theoretical manual, references have been listed that provide additional sources of information. Trainers should consult new information to ensure that they stay up to date with the latest trends and continuously improve and adapt the training materials. Many of the web resources cited are continuously updated and represent an excellent source of basic information that can be used for tailoring courses to the needs of a target audience. Appendices have also been compiled to provide additional background for the trainer.
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  • Foreword

    In November 2005, the Rural Infrastructure and Agro-industries Division of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Special Advisory Services Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat agreed to work together to help strengthen human capacities in horticultural chain management in East and Southern Africa in response to needs expressed by member countries of that region. Formal agreements were established with the University of Pretoria, South Africa, for the development and implementation of a ‘Train the Trainers’ programme. The core curriculum of the programme focused on practical approaches to assuring the safety and quality of horticultural produce and on efficient organisation of the supply chain in order to improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and farmers in domestic and regional markets. The training programme was held at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in June 2006 and drew participant trainers from nine countries in the East and Southern African region. This training package has been produced as a direct result of that programme.

  • Introduction to the practical manual

    This practical manual is designed to complement the theoretical manual and to provide the trainer with simple practical tasks that reinforce and enhance comprehension of theoretical training on horticultural chain management. The trainer may in turn use this guide for the development of context-appropriate hands-on training packages for small-scale farmerlearner programmes.

  • Meeting the consumer
  • Field visits

    Visiting a fresh produce market is interesting, but it can also be risky if certain protocols are not followed. Trainers are requested to observe these protocols to ensure that maximum benefit can be derived from the visit. Fresh produce markets are extremely busy during trading hours and participants are requested not to interfere with the normal flow of goods or with the work of traders and other workers. Trainers should at all times remain in a close circle with the group and ensure that no one falls behind; the group should remain at the sides of the halls to avoid injuries caused by fast moving forklifts and trucks.

  • Microbiology

    Micro-organisms are small organisms that can only be observed through a microscope. Many of these organisms consist of a single cell. They can be found everywhere in the environment. Some have the ability to take up nutrients and metabolise them into a large number of end products. Micro-organisms often have the ability to react to changes in their environment and some have been known to adapt to new environments.

  • Detection of post-harvest pathogens

    Post-harvest pathogens are saprophytes and infect fruit and vegetables through natural and artificial openings (wounds). As they grow they break down the cells of the fruits or vegetables, causing them to become limp or water-soaked. This creates the opportunity for other saprophytes to invade and grow on the nutritious plant sap/juices.

  • Monitoring sources of contaminationduring post-harvest operations

    Water is used for irrigation as well as for washing fresh produce after harvesting. Water is also a carrier of food-borne pathogens, especially when it is contaminated with sewage and manure. Although the outer surface of fresh produce may appear to be intact to the naked eye, all plants and fruits have respiratory openings such as lenticels and stomata through which water can enter.

  • Assessment of fresh produce quality

    Fruit and vegetable consumption is growing globally. At the same time, consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the quality of the fruits and vegetables that they consume. Satisfying consumer demand and assuring the markets for fresh fruits and vegetables therefore necessitates that produce is of optimum quality in terms of the state of ripeness, organoleptic quality and variety.

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