Increasing farm production and improving the access that small-scale farmers have to markets is the key to lifting tens of millions of people out of extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

But better storage is also vital in countries where upwards of 30% of produce can be lost before it reaches any market, says Limerick rural development advisor Carmel Fox, who returned last week from a fact-finding trip to Uganda with Irish development charity Self Help Africa, of which she is a director.

Carmel, from Glenroe, said she saw evidence that agricultural systems and production were improving, and that Self Help Africa’s focus on providing farmers with a reliable route to market, and supporting post-harvest handling and storage, was also a vital part of the picture in the organisation’s efforts to lift households out of poverty. 

“It’s tough enough for families to grow and earn enough on farms of five and six acres, especially when they must work the land with hand tools …”

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