Vegetables remain an important source of nutrients in many parts of the world as they contain essential micronutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and other health-related phytochemicals. They complement staple-based diets. Economically, vegetable production and marketing has a potential of high profit, employment, income generation and increasing commercialisation of the rural areas. However, vegetables are highly perishable and as such most actors in the vegetable value chain incur high post-harvest losses. In Tanzania, research on vegetable post- harvest losses is limited, yet post-harvest loss reduction may substantially contribute to higher returns leading to improving quality of lives of farmers and other actors in the supply chain. The study quantified the economic post-harvest losses of African egg-plant, amaranth and tomatoes along the supply chain, determined the principal causal factors contributing to selected vegetable postharvest losses and the factors influencingthe choice of post-harvest handling practices and techniques. A multi-stage sampling design was adopted for the ultimate selection of 200 vegetable farmers, 50 retailers and 50 wholesalers in Babati district. Descriptive statistics was used to determine the economic post-harvest losses of African eggplant, Amaranth and Tomato. The log-linear regression model was used to determine the principal causal factors contributing to vegetables post-harvest losses and multivariate probit model was used to determine factors that influence farmers’ choice of post-harvest handling techniques and practices. Results showed that farm level vegetable post-harvest losses were higher compared to retail and wholesale market levels. This study found that economic postharvest losses incurred per individual per season for Egg-plant were TZS 408,800, TZS 111,650 and TZS 255,000; Amaranth TZS 181,500, TZS 23,650 and TZS 16,800 and Tomatoes TZS 918,500, TZS 237,000 and TZS 182,100 for farmers, retailers and wholesalers respectively. Field pests and diseases, delays in harvesting or selling and poor storage conditions were the principal causal factors contributing to vegetable postharvest losses along the supply chain. Lastly quantity harvested, education level and access to extension services had significant (p<0.1) positive influence on choice of post-harvest handling techniques while household income and farm-size had significant (p<0.1) negative influence. As a result, there is a need for equipped storage facilities, training on vegetable postharvest handling and marketing, and promotion of simple and cost-effective postharvest technologies among the supply chain actors.

Background information 
The economy of Tanzania largely depends on agriculture. This sector accounts for about one quarter of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Moreover, it provides 85 per cent of exports and employs about 80 percent of the workforce (IFAD, 2015). Besides, the sector has strong inter-sectoral linkages with non-farm sectors through both backward and forward linkages. The sector is also important in moderating inflation, with food alone contributing about 50% to the household expenditure. Consequently, development of agriculture remains a key to the country’s economic and social development (Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Tanzania, 2012). 

Despite its importance, the sector is dominated by smallholder farmers most of whom are resource constrained and produce mainly to meet household subsistence needs (Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing, 2008). As a result they have little or no marketable surplus for commercialization. Moreover, most smallholders rely on production of mainstream crops like cereals, root crops, banana, tea, pyrethrum, sisal, horticulture produce, coffee, cotton and tobacco (Salami et al., 2010). Due to climate change, the performance of these crops has been declining over the years. In order to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, the Tanzanian government and its development partners have been promoting smallholder commercialization through the adoption of high value crops such as horticultural crops. However, these horticultural crops have received relatively little policy attention, in spite of their overwhelming contribution to household incomes and foreign exchange. 

Tanzania offers a wide range of horticultural produce such as vegetables, fruits, flowers, spices, medicinal and aromatic plants. The horticultural industry in Tanzania is the fastest growing agricultural subsector with a growth rate of 8-10% per annum. The subsector earns the country more than USD 354 million per year (TAHA, 2011). The growth of the industry is as a result of the increased nutritional importance and health awareness of the population, especially for fruits and vegetables (Dolan and Humphrey, 2000). Apart from their high nutritive value, other constituents of fruits and vegetables which deserve attention include antioxidants, bioflavonoids, flavour compounds and dietary fibre (APO and FAO, 2006). As a result of their highlighted nutritional and health benefits, the demand for horticultural produce in urban centres of both developed and developing countries has stimulated increased production by smallholder producers in developing countries (FAO, 2003). Consequently, Tanzania’s level of production of fresh vegetables is increasing and there is still enormous production potential. 

The country produces different types of vegetables such as edible roots, stems and leaves. Vegetables cultivated in Tanzania are either indigenous or standard (exotic) type. Typical indigenous vegetables produced by most farmers include African eggplant (Solanuma ethiopicum), African nightshade (Solanum americanum), Amaranth (Amaranthus spp), Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranean), vegetable cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) and Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) (Weinberger and Msuya, 2004). Standard (exotic) vegetables include tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata), carrot (Daucuscarota subsp. Sativus), sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum), broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica), zucchini (Cucurbita pepo var. cylindrica), lettuce (Lactuca sativa), cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) (MMA, 2008). 

In Tanzania, most vegetables are grown on a small scale despite the fact that horticultural crops present an alternative for farmers with too small cultivatable land to provide adequate field income from field crops. Besides vegetable crops grow faster and generate higher earnings per unit area in comparison to field crops (Zoss, 2009). Due to their higher earning potential, they present an alternative for farmers with too small cultivable land to provide adequate income from field crops (Mhango et al., 2014; Keller, 2004). Following this, Africa RISING program funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) came up with an initiative of integrating vegetables into maize-based systems for improved nutrition and income of smallholder householder farmers. This initiative was implemented in Babati District of Manyara region, Tanzania. 

The sustainable integration of vegetables into maize-based farming systems of Babati was aimed at enabling populations of semi-arid areas of Tanzania to capture nutritional and economic benefits. This is important as 90% of Babati district’s population live in rural areas and depends on rain fed agriculture for their livelihood (Africa RISING, 2013). Africa RISING action research actively integrated and demonstrated vegetable farming and marketing practices so as to improve nutrition, health and economic outcomes in order to reduce the vulnerability of indigenous populations of the district. The project introduced innovations that promote farm household dietary diversity, while diversifying household income through high farm gate earnings accrued from target vegetable crops (that is, amaranth, tomato, and African eggplant). 

Despite the importance of this initiative, vegetable production still faces the challenge of high post-harvest losses. Vegetables are highly perishable having 90 to 95% moisture content and have relatively short shelf life compared to most staple crops (Masabni et al., 2009). The perishable nature of most vegetables leads to high post-harvest losses along the supply chain. Post-harvest losses in vegetables vary widely from commodity to commodity, place to place and become more complex depending on the marketing system. Post-harvest losses have a negative impact on the economic benefit derived from vegetable production (Weinberger and Acedo, 2009). These losses are higher in developing countries due to limited knowledge, skills, technologies, techniques and facilities for produce handling and processing. 

Globally, more than thirty percent of all food that is produced is lost and/or wasted through inefficiencies in the food supply chain (Porter and Reay, 2015). In the developing world, the bulk of losses occur in the early stages of the supply chain, particularly, during harvesting and distribution (Stephen and Reay, 2015). Sub-Sahara Africa experiences losses between thirty to eighty percent of their perishable foods (fruits, vegetables, root crops) before consumption (Kitinoja, 2013). In contrast, in the developed world, this wastage is centred on the last stage in the supply chain, that is, the end-consumer throwing away food that is purchased but not eaten. Food losses and waste have a negative impact on the environment since they represent a waste of production factors and energy resources, and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions (Segre et al., 2014). 

Reducing post-harvest losses through application of appropriate post-harvest technologies improves incomes of farmers and marketers. It also makes diversification into vegetable production less risky and creates rural employment. Post-harvest technologies creates income generation opportunities through value-addition activities since post-harvest enterprises enhance productivity and competitiveness of vegetable industries, increases opportunities for export and sustains economic growth (Jaffee and Gordon, 1993). Minimizing post-harvest losses of already produced food is more sustainable than increasing production to compensate for these losses as it has high internal rates of return, effect on poverty, food security, health and sustainable use of resources. 

Statement of the problem 
The growing importance of vegetables offers an opportunity to many smallholders to improve their livelihood. Africa RISING action research actively integrates and demonstrates vegetable farming and marketing practices to nutrition, health and economic outcomes in order to reduce the vulnerability of indigenous populations in Babati district. As a result, many smallholders in Babati have integrated vegetables in their farming systems. Despite the growing importance of vegetable production and marketing, many smallholders and actors along the supply chain do not accrue sufficient returns due to high post-harvest losses. This is as a result of the perishable nature of vegetables that leads to a considerable gap between the gross production and net availability of vegetables with a large quantity being lost through post-harvest losses. Moreover, most smallholder farmers have inadequate knowledge on vegetable handling techniques. In Tanzania, researches on post-harvest losses are limited, yet reducing post-harvest-losses can substantially contribute to improved livelihoods of many farmers. In addition, there is a scarcity of information on the quantification of economic costs of vegetables along the supply chain which this study aims to address. 

Objective of the study 
General objective 
The general objective of this study was to contribute to enhancing livelihoods of farmers in Babati district, Tanzania through reduction of vegetable post-harvest losses. 

Specific objectives 
The specific objectives of the study are: 
1. To quantify the economic post-harvest losses of tomatoes, African egg-plant and amaranth along the supply chain in Babati District of Manyara region of Tanzania. 
2. To determine the principal causal factors contributing to vegetable post-harvest losses along the supply chain in Babati District of Manyara region of Tanzania. 
3. To determine the factors influencing farmers choice of post-harvest handling practices and techniques in Babati District of Manyara region of Tanzania. 

Research questions 
1. What economic losses (volume and value) of tomatoes, African eggplant and amaranth are incurred due to post-harvest losses along the supply chain? 
2. What are principal causal factors contributing to post-harvest losses of tomatoes, African eggplant and amaranth along the supply chain? 
3. What are the factors influencing the choice of vegetable post-harvest handling practices and techniques in Babati District? 

Justification and significance of the study 
Vegetable production has the potential to contribute to the reduction of food insecurity and poverty by increasing household income and food availability (Ochieng et al., 2016). Reducing post-harvest losses for fresh produce has been seen as an important part of sustainable agricultural development efforts meant to increase food availability (Kader, 2005). Reducing post-harvest losses of vegetables improves local food and nutritional security, increases rural income, contributes to the increasing global food demand and increases resource use efficiency. 

Therefore, the study aimed at quantifying vegetable post-harvest losses within the vegetable supply chain. Additionally, the study determined the driving factors of post-harvest losses within the vegetable supply chain and offered suggestions that can help enhance awareness creation of economic costs associated with current vegetable post-harvest losses as well as recommendations for solving the identified causes of the observed losses. These findings would be useful for farmers, researchers, investors, policy makers and government in formulating appropriate decisions, policies, institutions and determining the key areas of intervention in solving the problem of post-harvest vegetable losses. 

Scope and limitation of the study 
This study was restricted to analysis and documentation of economic cost quantification of African eggplant, amaranth and tomato postharvest losses in Babati District of Tanzania. Vegetable post-harvest losses include physical (quantity) and economic (quality) losses. The physical losses include weight and volume losses of downgraded produce while economic losses cover the produce that is unfit for human consumption. Although there are many species of vegetables, this study was only focused on Tomato, African eggplant and 

Amaranth cultivated at the area of study under the framework of the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the next Generation (Africa RISING) project being implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and World Vegetable Centre and other partners. The selection of the three vegetables was based on increasing the diversity of crops in farmer fields by including micro-nutrients rich vegetables to increase dietary diversity. The study focussed on farmers, wholesalers and retailers involved in vegetable farming and selling during August 2015 to February 2016 season. 

1.6 Operational definition of terms 
Indigenous vegetables - refers to a crop species or varieties genuinely native to Babati District, Tanzania or to a crop introduced into the region where over a period of time it has evolved, although the species may not be native 

Standard vegetables - are those non-traditional crops which are not part of the customary diet of the local population and grown primarily for their high cash value and export potential. 

Vegetable post-harvest losses - are a measurable reduction in vegetable quantity and quality which leads to the vegetable being regarded as unfit for human consumption and reduce households’ nutrition and income security. 

Quantity losses - are edible mass of vegetables lost due to apparent damage or spoilage. 

Supply chain - refers to the range of activities performed to a product necessary to move the commodity from point of production to a point of consumption. 

Household - A person or group of persons who reside in the same homestead/compound but not necessarily in the same dwelling unit, have same cooking arrangements, and are answerable to the same household head. 

Smallholder - This study will consider smallholder farmers as those harvesting less than 5 tonnes of vegetable per season. 

Retailer - A person that sells goods to the public in relatively small quantities for use or consumption rather than for resale. 

Wholesaler - A farmer who buys vegetable from other farmers and bulks it for resale typically to retailers.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 84 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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