By Vimbai Ruvengo
It is that time of the year when there is an influx of horticultural produce to the food market. Field summer crops are being harvested and the farmers are faced with challenges in the market due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The question is, what to do with the produce of smallholder farmers who cannot use factory-scale post-harvest technologies, have no access to food processing industries (because their harvest quantity is too low for industrial processing), or no financial capital for cold storage equipment?
There exist a number of ways to incorporate value addition strategies to horticultural products in agriculture at the local farm level with most fruits and vegetables being only edible for a very short time unless they are promptly and properly preserved. Generations of farmers and households have developed methods to prolong the storage life of products, that is, to preserve them. The rotting process can be delayed by adding preservatives, optimizing storage conditions, or applying modern techniques. Preservation in one form or another has been practiced in all parts of the world since time immemorial, although scientific methods of preservation were developed only about a hundred years ago. Preservation also assures a stable market to farmers and horticulturists and enables them to expand their marketing time. Well-known methods of preservation have been used on jam, jellies, marmalades, tomato sauces, pickled vegetables, dried fruit, and vegetables.
The case of Stora Fårvallsslätten and how it survived the Green revolution by adaption of value addition to their horticultural produce.
Between 1870 and 1914 the European agricultural sector went through a Green revolution. During these years up to the present day, there have been changes in production methods and intensive farming spread like wildfire engulfing small farms on its way. Petit farms merged to form major farms where new technologies could be more efficient and only the very robust ones survived this era. The survivor small farms were marginalized to poor landscapes or to the production of low-value agro-products. Svante and Béatrice are one of the few PROUD owners of a small horse-powered organic farm in Sweden. They grow a wide range of vegetables on a 7Ha piece of land and sell them fresh or as their signature product; the lactic acid fermented vegetables. Their fermented vegetables include cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, garlic, peppers, radishes, snap beans and turnip. As a result of value addition, the small farm owners are living their dream and are financially stable. Take a moment to picture a husband, his wife and kids, horse ploughing their small and cozy vegetable field with chickens running around the field and the sight of a few cattle and sheep grazing from a distance. At sunset they rest on their front porch, relaxing against the fresh breeze blowing from the nearby lake and the smell of nature from the forest. Eating fruits picked from their forest and orchard trees. Beautiful scenery it is.
Value addition to horticultural produce can be part of the solution to the sustainable survival of smallholder farmers with a lack of access to ready markets. Follow us for the precise description and local success story articles on the different specific home and farm preservation methods.
Stay relevant by producing unique food products.
Follow the story of a Zimbabwean farmer, Rob Fletcher who makes a signature chilli sauce on his farm at https://bambazonke.co.zw/dr-troubles-chilli-sauce/
Drying method – Value addition to fruits and vegetables with Tawonga Madonga a Food and Nutrition specialist at https://bambazonke.co.zw/drying-method-value-addition-of-fruits-and-vegetables/
Contact ZiMunda Farming to showcase your value added product firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0782 117 840
Images from shutterstock.