- About Us
- Policy Center
- GAP Report® & GAP Index™
- Harvest 2050 Blog
IFAD: Cutting food waste to conserve resources and fight hunger
The following information about post-harvest loss reduction work by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was posted in advance of 2013 World Environment Day: Think. Eat. Save. Reduce Your Foodprint. Read the excerpt below and click the link for more.
World Environment Day 2013: Cutting food waste to conserve resources and fight hunger
For smallholder farmers, post-harvest losses have many causes. Chief among them are poor storage and processing facilities for perishable crops, and a lack of decent roads and market access to sell their produce before it is lost. IFAD supports a range of programmes and projects that work to address these underlying issues.
In the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, for instance, IFAD and the government have joined forces with the Australian-financed Seeds of Life programme to expand maize storage facilities. Improved storage, combined with higher-yielding seeds, can help farmers reduce their ‘hungry season’ – the period when food from the previous year’s crops has run out and the next harvest is yet to be reaped.
In Ethiopia, the IFAD-financed Agricultural Marketing Improvement Programme supports the government’s commitment to better marketing of smallholders’ food crops. Among other objectives, the programme seeks to enhance processing, storage and transport technologies in order to reduce post-harvest crop losses and increase returns to farmers. This is just one of many similar initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa, where up to 40 per cent of crop production is lost because of deterioration after harvest.
Symptom of rural poverty
“Post-harvest losses on this scale are scandalous, particularly on a continent where millions go hungry,” IFAD’s Nwanze reiterated at a February 2013 seminar on feeding the world. “If we want farmers to grow a surplus, they need processing and safe storage facilities so they are not forced to watch their harvested crops be eaten by pests or spoil in un-insulated sheds. They need roads that are not only paved but able to withstand more frequent and extreme weather. And they need reliable access to electricity and clean water, as well as links to markets and information.”