Avoiding the Slings and Arrows of the Food Chain

Four Intervention Points to Reduce Post-Harvest Loss
Mar 21, 2017 10:05 AM ET

The Global Engagement Forum: Online

Across the agricultural landscape, critical crop yield interventions like fertilizers, bio-pesticides, drought resistant seeds, and better farming practices have been the predominate methods of improving food security. But what about the basket of tomatoes that falls off the back of a truck on a bumpy road? Or the crate of produce that spoils in the heat before ever reaching its destination? Or the fields of fruit that rot on the vine due to a seasonal glut? While these situations may seem inconsequential, individual moments of food loss add up over time. In fact, aggregate loss rises to appalling levels. As we consider approaches to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Two – to ‘End Hunger,’ improving methods to save what is already grown but not surviving the journey to the dinner table is critical.

Global food loss is a result of inefficient post-harvest agricultural systems. This inefficiency leads to the loss of 40 percent of all fruits and vegetables, 40 percent of roots and tubers, and 20 percent of cereals. In Africa, 20 percent of harvested grain succumbs to enemies such as mold and pests due to inadequate storage facilities and transportation. That loss alone is enough to feed 48 million people for a whole year.

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