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NTSInsightJune2011

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MindtheGap:ReducingWasteandLossesintheFoodSupplyChain
Oneoftneglectedstrategytoimprovefoodavailabilityisthesimpleactofreducingwaste.Inefficienciesacrosstheentirefoodsupply chainfromfarmtoforkresultinsignificantfoodlossesinbothdevelopinganddevelopedcountries.Asmuchas30percentofall foodgrownworldwidemaybelostorwastedbeforeandafteritreachestheconsumer.Reducingsuchwastecouldhelpmoderatethe amountofincreaseinfoodproductionthatisneededtomeetgrowingfooddemand,whichwouldalleviatethepressureonresources andhelplowergreenhousegasemissions.ThisNTSInsightarguesthat,givenitssignificantdirectandindirectbenefits,thereducing offoodwastewarrantsurgentattentionfrompolicymakers,theprivatesectorandnongovernmentalactors.

ByMargaritaEscalerandPaulTeng.

FoodlossesandwasteinfreshvegetablesatawholesalemarketoutsideKunming,YunnanProvince,China.
Credit:PaulTeng,NTU/NIE.

Introduction
Feedingaprojectedpopulationof9billionpeoplesustainablyandequitablyby2050willbean unprecedentedchallengeforhumankindandwillrequireamultifacetedandintegratedglobal strategy.Thestrategyofincreasingfoodproductionisonlyoneamongmanyneededtomeet thischallenge.Onesimple,achievable,butoftenoverlooked,wayofimprovingfoodavailability isthroughreducingfoodwaste.Inefficienciesacrosstheentirefoodsupplychainfromfarm toforkresultinsignificantfoodlossesinbothdevelopinganddevelopedcountriesthatcould
Clickheretoregisterforthefirst InternationalConferenceonAsian FoodSecurity2011(ICAFS).

otherwisehelprelievesomeofthepressuretointensifyagriculture.Estimatessuggestthatas muchas30percentofallfoodgrownworldwidemaybelostorwastedbeforeandafterit reachestheconsumer.Somehaveevenplacedthefigureashighas50percent(Lundqvistet

InternationalConferenceonAsian FoodSecurity2011(ICAFS).

muchas30percentofallfoodgrownworldwidemaybelostorwastedbeforeandafterit reachestheconsumer.Somehaveevenplacedthefigureashighas50percent(Lundqvistet al.,2008).

ArecentUKgovernmentcommissionedreportprojectsthatifthecurrentglobalestimateof30percentwasteisassumed,halvingthetotal amountofwasteby2050,whichisconsideredtobearealistictarget,couldreducethefoodrequiredby2050byanamountapproximately equalto25percentoftodaysproduction(Foresight,2011).Thiswouldlessenthepressureontheresourcesrequiredforfoodproduction. Itwouldalsohavepositiveenvironmentaleffects,includinglowergreenhousegasemissions,reducedwaterstressanddecreasedlevels ofsoildegradation.Withfoodwastereductionofferingsuchimportantdirectandindirectbenefits,ithastobegivenpriorityandurgent attentionbygovernments,thedonorcommunity,theprivatesectorandnongovernmentalorganisations(NGOs). ThisNTSInsightlooksatthecausesoffoodwaste,focusingonpostharvestlosses,andexaminesthedriversoffoodlossesin developing,transitionalanddevelopedcountries.Thetrendsinfluencingpostharvestlosses urbanisation,changingconsumption patternsandtheglobalisationoftrade arealsodiscussed.Then,drawingontheanalysisoffoodwastecausesandtrendsandon examplesofsuccessfulprojectsaroundtheworld,thisNTSInsightsuggestssomestrategiesforreducingfoodwastethatmaybepursued bygovernments,theprivatesectoraswellasnongovernmentalentities. ^Tothetop

FoodLossesintheFoodSupplyChain
Foodlossorwasteisgenerallydefinedas:ediblematerialintendedforhumanconsumption,arisingatanypointinthefoodsupplychain thatisinsteaddiscarded,lost,degradedorconsumedbypestsbetweenharvestandreachingtheconsumer(FAO,1981).Foodislostor wastedatallstagesofthefoodchain,fromproductiononthefarmorpond,tothefoodbeingservedonaplate,andthecausesofthe lossesarevaried(seeTable1). Unfortunately,theaccuratequantificationoffoodwasteremainsachallenge.Thereisadearthofdataonfoodwasteatallstagesofthe foodsupplychainandestimatesfromdiversesystemsandduringdifferentgrowingseasonsvarywidely(Foresight,2011).Agricultural systemsandtheirassociatedfoodsupplychainscontainmanyinterveninghumanvariablesthatcannotbeeasilycontrolledforinresearch design,aswellasexternalfactorsthatmayinfluencelossestimates(ParfittandBarthel,2010).Modernfoodsupplychainsinhigher incomecountrieslendthemselvesmorereadilytoanalysisthanthoseindevelopingcountries.Thisisbecauseinlowincomecountries, thenatureoftheirfoodsupplychainsislessformal,andthushardertodefine.

Table1:Causesandcharacteristicsoffoodwasteorlossesatdifferentpointsofthefoodsupplychain. Stage Production/ Preharvest Causesandcharacteristicsoffoodwasteandlosses


l l l l l l

Poorculturalpractices. Poorchoiceofcropvarieties. Pestanddiseasedamage. Ecologicalandsoilconditions. Poorwatermanagement. Physiologicalandmechanicaldamage.

Harvesting

Ediblecropsareleftinthefield,ploughedintothesoiland/oreatenby birds/rodents. Timingofharvestisnotoptimal. Poorharvestingtechnique. Outgradesatfarmtoimprovequalityofproduceormeetqualitystandards.

l l l

Threshing

Poortechnique.

Drying Transport,distribution

l l

Poortransportinfrastructure. Spoiling/bruising.

Storage

l l l l

Pestanddisease. Spillage. Contamination. Naturaldryingoutoffood.

Processing

Physical,mechanicalorphysiologicaldamage.

Processing

l l l l

Physical,mechanicalorphysiologicaldamage. Inefficiencies. Poorlytrainedworkers. Inappropriatetechnologies.

ProductEvaluation qualitycontrol

l l

Productdiscardedduetooutgradesinthesupplychain. Destructivetesting.

Packaging weighing,labelling,sealing

l l l

Inappropriateorpoorlysealedpackaging. Grainspillagefromsacks. Attackbyrodents.

Marketing

l l l

Damageandspoilageduringtransport. Poorhandlinginwetmarket. Lackofcoolingorcoldstoragefacilities.

Consumer overorinappropriate purchasing,storage, preparation,portioning, cooking

l l l l l

Buyingmorethanisneeded. Platescrapings,andsurplusfoodwhichhasbeencookedandnotused. Poorstorageorstockmanagementinthehome. Poorfoodpreparationtechniques. Foodisdiscardedinpackagingduetoconfusionoverbestbefore anduse bydates.

EndofLife disposaloffoodwaste

Foodwastethatisdiscardedmaybeseparatelytreated,fedtolivestock/poultry, ormixedwithotherwastesandlandfilled.

Source:AdaptedfromParfittandBarthel(2010).

^Tothetop

PreharvestLosses
Preharvestlossesmaybecausedbybothabiotic(e.g.,water,temperature,soilnutrients)andbiotic(e.g.,weedsanimalpestspathogens suchasfungi,bacteriaandviruses)factorsleadingtoreducedcropperformanceandthusloweractualyieldthanthesitespecific attainableyield.1 Todate,mostofthecomprehensivestudiesonpreharvestlosseshavefocusedoncroplossesduetobioticfactors. Oerke(2006)providesestimatesforthepotentialandactuallossesforwheat,rice,maize,potato,soybeanandcottonbetween2001and 2003for19regionsaswellastheglobaltotal.Thetotalglobalpotentiallossduetopestsvariedfromabout50percentforwheattomore than80percentforcotton.Ontheotherhand,actuallosseswereestimatedtobe26to29percentforsoybean,wheatandcottonand31, 37and40percentformaize,riceandpotatoesrespectively.Overall,weedscausedthehighestpotentialloss(34percent),withanimal pestsandpathogensbeinglessimportant(lossesof18and16percentrespectively)althoughregionaldifferenceswereevidentdueto croppingintensity,climaticconditionsandcroppingsystems.Intropicalandsubtropicalareas,hightemperaturesandheavyrainfalloften favourthedevelopmentofpests.Similarly,anincreasedsitespecificyieldpotentialofcropsresultingfromhigheryieldingvarieties, improvedwaterandsoilmanagement,fertilisationandothercultivationtechniquesisoftenassociatedwithhighervulnerabilitytopest attack,especiallybyfungalpathogenswhichfavourhighplantdensityenvironmentsandnutrientrichplanttissue(Oerke,2006).Studies haveshownthatitispossibletocharacterisetypologiesofpotentiallossesbasedonthetypeofcropproductionsystem,therebyimplying proactiveinterventions(Savaryetal.,2006).Whilepreharvestlossesduetopestsareofsignificanteconomicimportance,theprimary focusofthisreviewisonpostharvestlosses.

PostharvestLossesinDevelopingCountries
Inmanylowincomecountries,mostoftheruralpoorrelyonshortfoodsupplychainswithlimitedpostharvestinfrastructureand technologies,resultinginsubstantialfoodlossesafterharvest.Somethingassimpleascropstorageremainsextremelyinadequatein developingcountries.WhiletheGreenRevolutioninthe1960sand1970sbroughtinnewcropvarieties,machinery,pesticides,fertilisers andotherinputsthatboostedyieldsdramatically,morebasicinnovationssuchasgrainstores,dryingequipment,fruitcrates,coldstorage andotheressentialpostharvesttechnologieswerelargelyneglected. Thedataavailableforricepostharvestlossesbasedonfieldsurveysarequiteextensive(theyrepresentthebestcasecomparedtodata forothercrops).PostharvestlossestimatesfromselectedAsian,AfricanandSouthAmericancountriestypicallyrangefrom10to25per cent,with13to15percentquotedastheAsianaverage.However,therehasbeenatendencytooverestimatepostharvestgrainlossesin

forothercrops).PostharvestlossestimatesfromselectedAsian,AfricanandSouthAmericancountriestypicallyrangefrom10to25per cent,with13to15percentquotedastheAsianaverage.However,therehasbeenatendencytooverestimatepostharvestgrainlossesin developingcountries,duepartlytotakingextremevaluesratherthanaverages(ParfittandBarthel,2010). Thelossesforperishablecropssuchasfreshfruitandvegetablesare,bytheirnature,higherthanforgrains.EstimatesforEgypt, VenezuelaandanumberofAsiancountriestypicallyrangefrom30to40percent(Foresight,2011).SriLankareportedlylosesfruitand vegetablesatanannualrateof40to60percent,or270,000tonnes,anamountworthapproximatelyUSD100million.Ithasbeen suggestedthatasignificantproportionofthislosscouldbeeliminatedthroughrelativelysimplemeasures(WorldWatchInstitute,2011). Indiafacessimilarproblemsonamuchlargerscale.WhileIndiaisoneofthelargestagriculturalproducersintheworld,ithasonlya1to 1.5percentshareoftheglobalfoodtradeandonlyprocessesaround2percentofitsproduce,comparedtosomedevelopedcountries thatprocess60to70percent.Estimatessuggestthat35to40percentofIndiasfruitandvegetablesgotowaste,duemainlytothelackof coldchains,andpoorharvestingtechniqueswithlossimplicationsformoreextendedsupplychains.Globally,ithasbeenestimatedthat approximatelyonethirdofallfreshfruitandvegetablesislostbeforeitreachesconsumers(Kader,2005). Fishandshellfisharealsohighlyperishable.Poorharvesttechniquesandpost harvesthandlingcombinedwithalackofcoldstorageresultinsignificantlossin quality,orinsomecases,completespoilage.AccordingtotheFoodand AgricultureOrganizationoftheUnitedNations(FAO,2005),postharvestlossesin smallscalefisheriescanbeamongthehighestintheentirefoodsystem,and spoilagelossesaloneareestimatedat1012milliontonnesperyear,about10 percentoftotalaquaticproduction. Poorstorageinfrastructurecanalsohaveadverseeffectsongrainquality.In Zambia,onestudyfoundthat96percentofstoredmaizesamplescontained fumonisins,toxinsproducedbyfungi(Kankolongoetal.,2009).Afifthofthe samplesalsocontainedupto10timesthegovernmentsrecommendedsafe limitforaflatoxins,alsoproducedbyfungi.Whenconsumed,aflatoxinscaninhibit growthinchildrenandlivestock,andcausecancer.Ashighas98percentof peopleinseveralAfricancountrieshaveaflatoxinsintheirblood,inconcentrations sometimesmanytimeshigherthanthatallowedintheEuropeanUnionandthe US.Thisiscausedalmostexclusivelybyeatingmouldyfood(Kankolongoetal., 2009).

PostharvestLossesinDevelopedCountries
Improperstorageafterharvestcanleadtothe Incontrasttolowincomecountrieswherethemajorityoffoodlossesgenerally occuronandnearthefarm,mostfoodlossesinhigherincomecountriesoccur beyondthefarmgate,withgreateramountsattheconsumerthanattheretail level.Thewidespreadadoptionofmechanisationandcoldchaintechnologies andthepresenceofsoundinfrastructurehavekeptonfarmpostharvestlosses growthoftoxinproducingfungi.TheFusarium fungusseenhereproducesatoxinknownas fumonisin.
Credit:ThomasLumpkin/CIMMYT.

lowerthanthoseindevelopingcountries.Forexample,grainlossescanbeaslowas0.07to2.81percentindevelopedcountries(Smil, 2004).However,postharvestlossesforperishablecropsstilloccurinthesecountries.LossesintheUSareestimatedtobe2to23per cent,dependingonthecommodity,withanoverallaverageof12percent(Kader,2005).AtentativeestimatefromtheUKsuggestslosses of9percentbutthisdoesnottakeintoconsiderationproducethatmightbeleftinthefieldafterfailingtomeetcosmeticorqualitycriteria (Garnett,2006). Althoughthecentralisedprocessingoffood,afeatureofmodernindustrialisedfoodsupplychains,leadstobetterresourceefficiencyand lesswaste,lossesatthislevelandattheretaillevelcanstillbesubstantialinhighincomecountries.Approximately22percentofthetotal UKfoodanddrinkwasteof16milliontonnesperyearisassociatedwithfoodprocessing,distributionandretail(Foresight,2011).Thefood anddrinkmanufacturingandprocessingsectorsproduceanestimated20percentor3.2milliontonnesoffoodwasteperyear.Attheretail anddistributionstage,lossesarelessat2.6percent(0.37milliontonnes)oftotalfoodwaste.IntheUS,theDepartmentofAgriculture foundthatannualsupermarketlossesfor2005and2006averaged11.4percentforfreshfruit,9.7percentforfreshvegetables,and4.5per centforfreshmeat,poultryandseafood(Buzbyetal.,2009).Ingeneral,lossesduringfoodprocessing,distributionandretailconsistofby productsandunsoldpreparedfoodproducts. Foodwasteattheconsumer,includinghousehold,levelindevelopedcountrieshasalsoseensignificantgrowthovertheyears(Foresight, 2011).Duetofoodbeingrelativelycheapinsuchcountries,theproportionofdisposableincomespentonithasdeclinedovertheyears, especiallyamongthemoreaffluent.Therelativelylowcostoffood,agrowingappetiteformoreperishablefooditemsofhighquality,and thetrendformoremodern,convenientlifestylesprovidelittleincentiveforpeopleinhighincomecountriestoreducefoodwaste.Declining foodpreparationandhandlingskillsandapoorunderstandingofbestbeforeorusebydatesappliedtofoodproductshavealsoresulted inperfectlygoodfoodbeingthrownaway. ThechangesseenintheUKisagoodexampleoftheincreasingscaleoffoodwasteascountriesbecomemoredevelopedandaffluent. StudiesbeforeWorldWarIIshowedthatbetween1and3percentoffoodwaswastedinthehome(CathcartandMurray,1939).Thishad

ThechangesseenintheUKisagoodexampleoftheincreasingscaleoffoodwasteascountriesbecomemoredevelopedandaffluent. StudiesbeforeWorldWarIIshowedthatbetween1and3percentoffoodwaswastedinthehome(CathcartandMurray,1939).Thishad grownto6percentin1982,dependingontheseason(Osner,1982),andby2008,asmuchas25percentofpurchasedfoodwasfoundto bewastedinthehome(WRAP,2009).Inotherhighincomecountries,thescaleofconsumerfoodwastehasbeenfoundtobesimilar. Studieshavefoundhouseholdwasterangingfrom8to11percentintheNetherlandsto15to25percentintheUSandAustraliaand26 to27percentinSouthKorea(Kantoretal.,1997Jones,2005Morgan,2009YoonandLim,2005Thnissen,2009).Incontrastto developingcountrieswherefoodlossesarelikelytobeoverestimated,consumerfoodwasteinhighincomecountriesisprobably underestimatedasfoodwastethatiscompostedinthehome,fedtopetsorpoureddownthedrainhavebeenexcluded. ^Tothetop

WaterandCarbonFootprintofFoodWaste
Thenourishmentandfinancialcostsarenottheonlyimpactsoffoodwaste.Thewaterandenergyusedtogrowandprocessfoodsare alsowasted.Foodisthenumberonereasonforwateruse.AccordingtoarecentreportbytheUKsWaste&ResourcesActionProgramme (WRAP)andtheWWF,thewaterfootprintofavoidableandpossibleavoidablefoodwasteis6,200millioncubicmetresperyear, representingnearly6percentofallwaterrequirementsintheUK.Inpercapitaterms,thisis243litresperpersonperday,approximately oneandahalftimesthedailyaveragehouseholdwateruseintheUK(WRAPandWWF,2011).Theproductswiththelargestshareofthe waterfootprintofUKhouseholdfoodwastearebeef,cocoaproducts,rice,poultryandwheat.Asalargepart(71percent)oftheavoidable foodwasteintheUKisfromimportedproducts,mostofthevirtualwaterwastedoccursoutsidetheUK. Thestudyalsofoundthatavoidablefoodwasteisresponsibleforgreenhousegasemissionsof20milliontonnescarbondioxide(CO2) equivalentperyear.Avoidablefoodwasterepresentsapproximately3percentoftheUKsdomesticgreenhousegasemissions,with furtheremissionsfromoverseascomponentsofthesupplychain.Incontrasttothewaterfootprint,approximatelytwothirdsofemissions associatedwithfoodwasteoccurwithintheUK.Theseemissions,whichoccurthroughoutaproductslifecycle,fromrawmaterialsthrough toproduction(orserviceprovision),distribution,consumeruseanddisposal/recycling,areequivalenttothatproducedbyover7millioncars peryear.Themostsignificantcontributorstoavoidablecarbonemissionsaremilkwaste,coffeewasteandwheatproducts(bread,cake, etc.). ^Tothetop

GlobalTrendsInfluencingPostharvestLosses
Whiletheprimarydriversofpostharvestlossesinbothdevelopinganddevelopedcountrieshavebeendiscussedabove,thereareother globaltrendsthatinfluencefoodlosses(Parfittetal.,2010).Firstistherapidurbanisationandcontractionoftheagriculturalsectorcurrently takingplaceinmanycountries.Thelastfivedecadeshaveseenasignificantshiftfromthecountrysidetothecities.Farmersareleaving theirfieldsandheadingtothecityinsearchofbetterlivelihoods.Amajorityoftheworldspopulationnowresideincities.Itisprojectedthat by2050,twothirdsofhumanityor6billionpeoplewillbelivingintownsandcitiescomparedtoonly32percentin1960.Thisgrowing phenomenonhascreatedtheneedforextendedfoodsupplychainstofeedurbanpopulations.Morefoodwillhavetobetransportedover largerdistancestoreachcities,necessitatingimprovementsinroads,transportation,storageandmarketinginfrastructuretoavoid additionallosses.Howtheseextendedsupplychainskeeppacewithurbanisationhasobviousimplicationsforfoodwasteglobally. Thesecondtrendisthechangeinfoodconsumptionpatterns.Increasingurbanisationincombinationwithincomegrowth,particularlyin transitionaleconomiessuchasBrazil,Russia,IndiaandChina,hasresultedintheaccelerationofthediversificationofdietsintofreshfruit andvegetables,dairy,meatandfishandadeclineinconsumptionofstarchyfoodstaples(Parfittetal.,2010).Thisshifttowardsmore perishable,shortershelflifeitemsisassociatedwithgreaterfoodwastecoupledwithhigherdemandsplacedonagricultureintermsof landandinputstoproduction(Lundqvistetal.,2008). Thethirdtrendistheincreasedglobalisationoftrade.Linkedtotradeliberalisationandglobalisationistherapidgrowthofsupermarkets oftenmultinationalchainsoperatingacrossmanycountriesinmanytransitionalcountries.Supermarketsarebecomingthedominant intermediarybetweenfarmersandconsumers.TheyaredisplacingtraditionalretailersinmanycountriesinAfrica,AsiaandLatinAmerica andarebecomingthemainvehiclefordeliveringdiversifieddietsforthegrowingmiddleclassesandtheurbanpoor.Associatedwiththis supermarketrevolutionistherequirementtomeetthequalityandsafetystandardsofconsumers,aswellasvolumeandtimeliness demandsoflocalandexportmarkets,allofwhichhaveimplicationsforfoodwastealongthefoodsupplychain.Forexample, overproductionoroverorderinginthefoodmanufacturingsectoroftenoccursinresponsetoinaccuratedemandforecastingbyretailers, thusfurtherincreasingfoodwaste. Toreflecttheseimportantglobaldrivers,Parfittetal.(2010)considerpostharvestlossesalongatechnologicaleconomicgradient,from developing t o transitional a n d developed. Asdevelopingcountriesmoveuptheeconomicladder,theleveloftheirpostharvest infrastructureandsupplychaintechnologyincreasesandthenatureoftheirfoodlosseschanges.Withrudimentarypostharvest infrastructure,themajorityoffoodlossesoccurnearthefarmwhereasincountrieswithmoreadvancedinfrastructure,moreandmoreof thefoodlossesoccurattheretailandconsumerlevels.Thus,thericheracountrybecomes,themorevoluntarythenatureofitsfoodloss. Figure1providesanoverviewofthedevelopmentofpostharvestinfrastructurealongthisgradient.

thefoodlossesoccurattheretailandconsumerlevels.Thus,thericheracountrybecomes,themorevoluntarythenatureofitsfoodloss. Figure1providesanoverviewofthedevelopmentofpostharvestinfrastructurealongthisgradient.

Figure1:Developmentofpostharvestinfrastructureinrelationtostagesofeconomicdevelopment.

Source:Parfittetal.(2010:3067).

^Tothetop

StrategiestoReduceLosses
DevelopingCountries
Thepostharvestsystemsofdevelopingcountriesareindireneedofconsiderableinvestmenttocreatemoreformalmarketsandimprove theirperformancetoapointwherepostharvestlossescanbesubstantiallyreduced(Hodgesetal.,2011).Forexample,governmentsneed todevelopallweatherfeederroadssothatcropscangettomarket.Suitablemarketinstitutionsneedtobedevelopedandpromotedbythe government,whileleavingroomforsubsequentprivatesectorinvolvement,toenablemarketinggroupsandindividualstobestrespondto marketdemand.Forexample,inMalaysia,theMinistryofAgricultureandAgrobasedIndustrysetuptheFederalAgriculturalMarketing Authority(FAMA)tohelpsmallfarmersmarketperishablessuchasfruitandvegetablestodomesticaswellasexportmarkets.Marketing cooperatives,whichareparticularlyrelevantfordevelopingcountrieswherefarmsizesaresmall,shouldbeencouragedamongproducers ofmajorcommoditiesinimportantproductionareas(Kader,2005).Suchorganisationsprovidecentralaccumulationpointsforthe harvestedcommodityundertakepurchasingofharvestingandpackingsuppliesandmaterialsinquantityprovideforproperpreparationfor marketandstoragewhenneededfacilitatetransportationtomarketsandactasacommonsellingunitforthemembers.Transitional economiesarealsonowinvestingheavilyinthekindofcoldchainsusedbyindustrialisedcountries,despitethehighenergyrequirements. India,where35to40percentofallofitsfruitandvegetablesgotowaste,hasrecentlyprovidedincentivesandcapitalsubsidiesforthe establishmentofwarehousingandcoldstoragefacilities. Asmarketsdependonaconsistentsupplyofbetterqualityproduce,farmersmustbeabletorespondtothedemand.Thiscanbeachieved byadoptinginnovativetechnologiesandapproachestoreducepostharvestlossesandensureproductquality.Theinterventionscanbe quickandcosteffectiveones.EvenwithouttheintroductionofcapitalintensiveWesternstyleinfrastructure,thereisagreatdealthat smallholderscandotopreventseriousdamagetotheirharvestsandimprovetheirquality.Forexample,anFAOprojectinAfghanistanand elsewheredramaticallyreducedpostharvestlossessimplybyprovidingsealedstoragedrumstograinfarmers(FAO,2008).Another communityprojectinGuineaachieveddramaticreductionsinaflatoxinlevelsinstoredgroundnutsbytrainingandeducatingfarmersto betterhandletheirharvests(WorldWatchInstitute,2011).Farmerswereshownhowtosortgroundnutsbyhand,eliminatinganythatwere mouldyordamaged.Insteadofbeingdriedontheground,whichcanbeasourceofhumidity,groundnutsweredriedinthesunonlocally producednaturalfibremats.Ratherthanusingplasticbagsforstorage,whichpromoteshumidity,naturalfibrejutebagswereused.These examples,alongwithmanyotherslikethemallovertheworld,demonstratethatdirectingresourcestotrainingfarmersinbestpractices throughoutreachandextensioneffortscandramaticallyimprovefoodavailabilityandreducewastewithouttheneedforhugecapital investments.Thisfarmertraininghastraditionallybeentheresponsibilityofgovernmentextensionservices,butincreasingly,private

throughoutreachandextensioneffortscandramaticallyimprovefoodavailabilityandreducewastewithouttheneedforhugecapital investments.Thisfarmertraininghastraditionallybeentheresponsibilityofgovernmentextensionservices,butincreasingly,private companieshaveorganisedtheirowntechnicalsupportservicestoensureappropriateuseoftheirproducts.Seedcompaniessuchas SyngentaandPioneerhaveactivetechnicaladvisoryservicestoensurethatfarmerscapturevaluefrombuyinghybridseeds. Otherlowinputapproachesincludeusingtheabundantsolarheatavailableintropicalandsubtropicalregionstopreserveagreater proportionoflocallygrownfruitsandcreateotherfoodproductsfromthem.Fermentationisanotherlowinput,locallyappropriatefood preservationmethod.InAfrica,kefir,anacidic,mildlyalcoholicmilkdrink,isproducedbythefermentationofmilkusingagrainlikestarter culture.Formanyproducers,thisisamuchmorefeasiblemethodofpreservationthanpasteurisationandrefrigeratedsupplychains (WorldWatchInstitute,2011). Biotechnologyisanothertoolthatcanbeutilisedtoaddresssomeoftheconcernsaboutqualityattributesandthebiologicalcausesof deteriorationofharvestedproduce(Kader,2002).Duetotherebeingnumerousopportunitiestousebiotechnologytomaintainpostharvest qualityandsafetyoffreshproduce,priorityshouldbegiventothefollowinggoals:(1)toattainandmaintaingoodflavourandnutritional qualitytomeetconsumerdemandsandencouragegreaterconsumptionoffreshfruitandvegetables(2)tointroduceresistanceto physiologicaldisordersand/ordecaycausingpathogensinordertoreducetheuseofchemicalsanddelayrottingand(3)tomodifythe surfacestructureand/orcompositionofsomecommoditiestoreducetheirmicrobialcontaminationpotential.ThebiotechnologyR&D requiredtomeetthesegoalsiscurrentlybeingdoneinpublicaswellasprivatesectorresearchorganisations.

DevelopedCountries
Whilethedevelopingworldwouldbenefitfromgreaterinvestmentinpostharvestinfrastructure,extensionservicesandagricultural technologiestopreventaccidentallosses,developedcountriesshouldreinintheirindifferencewhenitcomestofood. Initiativesaimedatraisingawarenessoffoodwasteissuesamongconsumers,whilealsomakingiteasierforthemnottowaste,are paramount(Foresight,2011).Consumereducationcampaignssimilartotheoneslaunchedbylocalgovernmentsinlargecitiessuchas Guangzhou,China,toreduceenergywastageshouldbeimplemented.Thesecampaignsmustincludemessagesthatpointtoactionsthat consumerscanadopttoreducefoodwasteanddrawattentiontocostsavingsasaresultofdoingso.Thereisalsoaneedtoreviewhome economicsskillsandeducationinschoolstoimproveinhomefoodstorage,preparationandcookingskills,aswellasprofessional practice. Intermsofstrategiesthatcouldbeemployedattheretail,manufacturingandfoodservicesectorlevel,thefollowinghavebeenproposedby Foresight(2011):productiverecyclingofsurplusfoodforfoodredistributionorforuseasacomponentofanimalfeedorasasourceof energythroughanaerobicdigestionandcompostingimprovementsindemandforecastingthroughtheexpandeduseofinformation technologyinfoodsupplychainsandthedevelopmentanduseofcheap,massproducedsensortechnologythatcandetectspoilagein certainperishablefoods.Thelastapproachhasthepotentialtoreplacesomeofthecurrentdatemarks(e.g.,bestbeforeanduseby dates)andprovideamoreaccurateindicatoroffreshnessofspoilage,whichcouldhelpreducewaste. ^Tothetop

Conclusion
TheUNprojectsthatworldpopulationwillgrowfromitscurrent6.8billion,to9.1billionin2050.Feedingthislarger,moreurbanand increasinglyaffluentpopulationwillrequireagriculturalproductiontogrowby70percent(FAO,2009).Thishugeincreaseindemandwill notbeachievedthroughabusinessasusualapproachwhichfocusesonthemoreobvioussolution,increasingfoodproduction.Thisis particularlysogiventhefactthattheresourcesforproducingfoodarebecomingincreasinglyscarce.Reducingfoodlossesbyaddressing inefficienciesacrosstheentirefoodsupplychainmustthusbeanessentialcomponentofanystrategytomakemorefoodavailablewithout increasingtheburdenonournaturalenvironment.Regrettably,thisisanareathathasbeenneglectedovertheyears.Lessthan5percent offundingforhorticulturalresearchandextensionhasbeenallocatedtopostharvestissuesoverthepast20years,asthehistoricalfocus hasbeenonincreasingproduction(Kitinojaetal.,2011).Thoughtheemphasisinthe1990smovedtomarketingandmorerecentlyto valuechaindevelopment,still,internetsearchesshowthatlessthan1in2,000agriculturalprojectsundertakengloballyhavecentredon freshproducehandlingandmarketing. Withpostharvestissueshavingbeenlargelyignored,afirmevidencebasefromwhichtoassessglobalfoodwasteislacking(Parfittetal., 2010).Muchofthedataonlosseshavenotbeencollectedsystematicallyandupdatedsomeofthedataarefrom30yearsago.Inaddition, therehasnotbeenmuchresearchontheimpactoffoodwasteintransitionalcountriessuchasBrazil,Russia,IndiaandChina,wherefood consumptionpatternsarechangingdramatically.Therefore,thereisanurgentneedformorequantitativeresearchprovidinglossestimates forthefoodsupplychainsofdevelopingcountriesandtherapidlyevolvingtransitionalcountries.Parfittetal.(2010)arguethatwithoutsuch evidence,discussionsonthepotentialforreducingglobalfoodwasteasacontributiontofeeding9billionby2050willremainlargely rhetoricalandmeasuringprogressagainstanyglobalreductiontargetalmostimpossible. During19701980,theFAOsponsoredatwodecadelongCropLossAssessmentProgram,whichfocusedprimarilyonpreharvest lossesindevelopingcountries(Teng,1987).ThatprogrammeyieldedinvaluableinformationwhichledtothedevelopmentofIntegrated

During19701980,theFAOsponsoredatwodecadelongCropLossAssessmentProgram,whichfocusedprimarilyonpreharvest lossesindevelopingcountries(Teng,1987).ThatprogrammeyieldedinvaluableinformationwhichledtothedevelopmentofIntegrated CropandPestManagementstrategies.Itistimetorevisittheneedforcoordinated,globalprogrammessimilartotheCropLoss AssessmentProgramaswellasusepastexperiencetotacklethecurrentimportantissuesofpreandpostharvestlossesintheentire supplychain. Notes


1. Theattainableyieldisdefinedasthesitespecifictechnicalmaximumdependingonabioticgrowthconditions,whichingeneraliswellbelowtheyield potential,atheoreticalyieldlevelthatcannotberealisedunderpracticalgrowthconditions(Oerke,2006Nutter,Jr.etal.,1993).

RecommendedCitation:Escaler,MargaritaandPaulTeng,2011,MindtheGap:ReducingWasteandLossesintheFoodSupplyChain,NTSInsight, June,Singapore:RSISCentreforNonTraditionalSecurity(NTS)Studies.

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