FoodTrade East & Southern Africa (ESA) grantee, Pee Pee Tanzania Ltd., in partnership with Purdue University held a soft launch of PICS bags storage technology on Monday, 13th June in Dodoma. PICS bags provide a user-friendly alternative to reduce post-harvest losses. FoodTrade ESA provided a grant of GBP 500,000 to build the capacity of Pee Pee Tanzania Ltd. to produce and sell PICS packaging.
Post-harvest crop losses continue to affect food security in the region, and this challenge can be mitigated by promoting technology that is appropriate for small holder farmers. Improving post-harvest markets is a key pillar for Food Trade ESA, a five-year staples trade and enhancement programme funded by the UK Government. FoodTrade ESA uses two investment tools to meet its objectives: the Challenge Fund (CF) which stimulates private sector investment in the staples value chains, as well as the Development Fund (DF) which facilitates dialogue and supports targeted interventions around key barriers to the development of regional staple food markets.
The grant will support the company to reach millions of poor, small holder farmers with low cost PICS bags. Such innovative products play a big role in mitigating challenges faced by small holder farmers, including access to appropriate post-harvest tools and flexibility about when to store or sell their crops. The PICS bags will improve the incomes of these farmers, and enable them to play an increasingly central role in structured trade within the region.
The Pee Pee Tanzania Ltd. team has tested the PICS bags in more than 3,400 villages in collaboration with district councils and the media. More than 470,000 bags have been produced and disseminated locally and in neighbouring countries in the past year. The company has a capacity to produce 3,000,000 PICS bags per year. Its business mission is to serve small holder farmers with solutions that reduce post-harvest crop loss, guarantee food security right down to the household level, guarantee food safety, promote chemical free packaging and promote linkages between agro-dealers and farmers.
During the event, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Tanzania Dr. Tulia Ackson Mwansasu opened a PICS bag that has been sealed since 2014. The launch event was officiated by the Deputy Speaker, with an opening speech provided by the Minister for Industries, Trade and Investments Hon. Charles Mwijage, and closing remarks given by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Hon. Tate William Ole Nasha.