Reducing Postharvest Loss

Reducing Postharvest Loss


According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, over 50% of fresh fruits and vegetables produced in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia are lost or wasted, with nearly half of these losses occurring during postharvest processes. Without the knowledge and suitable technologies to properly store, transport, conserve and process, the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables increases drastically, causing low-income households, who spend over half of their income on food, to prioritise their food security spending on less nutritious staple crops. A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) estimates that reducing loss/waste in developing countries by 10% could reduce fruit and vegetable prices by 14%, population at risk of hunger by 11%, and child undernutrition by 4% by 2050.

In 2015, GAIN and its partners created the Postharvest Loss Alliance for Nutrition (PLAN) to bring together a multitude of public and private sector stakeholders addressing this issue to collectively reduce loss of nutritious foods throughout the supply chain. PLAN’s mission is to coordinate measurable actions to address losses in perishable and nutritious food supply chains and increase access to these foods for populations, particularly low-income households.

PLAN focuses primarily on three key postharvest issue areas in the nutritious foods value chain: packaging and crating, cold chain storage/logistics, and food processing. Through Global and National Alliances and the Business to Business Engine (B2BE), PLAN works with industry leaders in these sectors and governments to transfer knowledge, best practices, food safety standards and improved technologies with local businesses operating along nutritious supply chains. 

The Global PLAN operates as a central knowledge and partnership hub for nationally designed PLAN projects. It organises activities for members around the world to participate in the dissemination of knowledge, stimulation of collaboration, and collectivise impact. In this alliance, GAIN works alongside the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), the World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI), each of which provides technical assistance and shares best practices in postharvest loss management. 

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