Maize is the third most important cereal and staple globally. Poor agricultural policies and funding are the major problems of agriculture in Nigeria. This work was aimed at studying maize postharvest losses through identification of causes and sources. Data were gathered via Commodity Systems Assessment Methodology which includes 26 components, structured interviews and protocols for measuring quantity, quality and economic losses. Information on marketing, storage, handling, production and pre-production was obtained through interviews, observations, measurements and literature. Results of the study showed that cultural practices for maize vary from region to region and this affects the quality and quantity of maize. Poor quality seeds and fertilization have effects on the quality of the harvested crop. Maize is sundried on farm prior to sale. Quality and cob size affect farm gate prices. Farmers were unaware of postharvest losses because the harvested crop was not sorted before sale. Factors identified to affect maize losses at farm are; production constraints, improper drying, lack of grades and lack of storage. On farm postharvest losses were measured to be 13%. Mechanical damages during handling and transportation account for 2 to 3.5%. An average loss of 15% was recorded across the value chain.
Key words: Postharvest, maize, commodity, crop, quality, storage.
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