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close this bookBetter Farming Series 07 - Crop Farming (FAO - INADES, 1976, 29 p.)
close this folderHarvesting
View the documentHow to harvest
Open this folder and view contentsHow to get a better price for the harvest

How to harvest

As a rule harvesting is done by hand. This work can be improved by using better tools, for example: a three- pronged lifting fork or hook for lifting cassava; a sickle for cutting rice; a scythe for cutting grass fodder.


Harvesting must be done at the right moment when the crop is quite ripe.

For example:

The fruits of the oil palm cut at the right moment yield more oil.

If you harvest cotton too late, part of the cotton has already fallen to the ground. It is dirty and sells for less.

If sorghum or millet is harvested too late, the grains fall to the ground and are lost.

Grade your crops.

To get a better price, separate what is good from what is less good. Grade your crops.

If the harvest is not graded, if it is of poor quality, you get a low price,

For example:

In Cameroon in 1969, cocoa of first quality sold for 85 CFA francs; cocoa of second quality sold for 80 francs;

In Upper Volta in 1969, white cotton sold for 30 CFA francs, yellow cotton sold for 28 francs.

At the market, tomatoes and yams of good quality sell at a better price.

To grade crops: separate the good coffee beans from the broken ones; separate the white cotton from the yellow cotton; take out groundnut pods that are empty; take out spoiled grain, fruit that is rotten or eaten by insects.

If you do not grade your crops, you will sell them at the lowest price.

Grading your harvest crops means earning more money.

Store your harvest well.

Cassava can be kept in the earth. You can harvest it all through the year. Maize and groundnuts cannot be kept in the ground.

Harvests are kept in houses, in granaries. Sometimes they are hung on trees.

But rats and birds eat part of the harvest. Another part may rot. Farmers lose part of their harvest.

To store your harvest well, build granaries (see Booklet No. 3, page 27) where rats can't get in, where the rain doesn't get in.

Clean and disinfect the granary to kill insects (see Booklet No. 3, page 28).

· Store your harvest to earn more money.

For example:

Just after the harvest the price of millet is low. Ten months after harvest the price of millet is higher.

Mamadou sells 700 kilogrammes of millet just after the harvest at 12 francs the kilogramme. Mamadou earns 700 x 12 = 8 400 francs.

Moussa sells 700 kilogrammes of ml/let ten months after the harvest at 25 francs the kilogramme. Moussa earns 700 x 25 = 17 500 francs.

Because Moussa stored his millet, he earned 9 100 francs (17 500 less 8 400) more than Mamadou.

By keeping his harvest, Moussa made a lot of money.

Farmers get together to sell.

A farmer by himself often sells his harvest badly.

When he is alone he cannot go and sell his crops where the price is high.

A dishonest dealer can easily trick the seller on the weight of his harvest by means of false scales, by weighing very quickly. The farmer can't check him.

· on the quality. The dealer often says the quality of the harvest is bad and buys at a lower price.
· on prices. The farmer needs money. The dealer knows this and buys at low prices.
· on the reckoning. Some dealers make mistakes in the reckoning on purpose.

Farmers who get together can defend themselves against dishonest dealers.

Unity is strength.