Reducing food loss to combat food security issues

Developing Countries

Food loss in developing countries occurs mostly at the production end of the supply chain. These losses directly threaten the food security of smallholder subsistence farmers, and also leads to reduced incomes for the farm owners, negatively impacting their welfare. Nutrient-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables have the highest rates of loss due to their perishability.

These nutrient losses can have significant impacts on efforts to reduce hidden hunger and undernutrition. The main causes of post-harvest losses are due to poor infrastructure, poor temperature management, low levels of technology and low investment in the food production system, especially the cold chain.

In order to address food loss in developing countries, a whole value chain-wide approach is necessary, to offer greater nutrition and lower prices to consumers, while also supporting and bettering farmer livelihoods. Infrastructural investments in improved storage and transport capacity are vital, but policy innovations could also have a real impact on smallholder farmers.

It is estimated that if developing countries had the same level of refrigeration in the supply chain as developed countries, approximately one quarter of all food loss could be saved. Other fixes can be as simple as getting farmers to use boxes instead of bags for transport to avoid bruising. Export standards also lead to food going to waste:

  • 80% of the mangoes grown in Senegal are unsuitable for export to Europe due to skin blemishes that have no effect on the overall quality of the fruit
  • 35% of beans produced in Kenya are discarded due to European standards

While Europe continues to reject and waste food due to cosmetic standards, an estimated 20% of the African population is undernourished.

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Najeeb Alhumaid

Partner (Saudi Arabia)

Based in Farrelly & Mitchell's Riyadh office, Partner Najeeb has extensive experience in the middle east. Najeeb has worked with major food and beverage suppliers worldwide, and has an excellent track record in supporting mergers and acquisitions.

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