Celebrating the Grim Future of Post-Harvest Loss

Emerging opportunities from the Global Engagement Forum: Live

How can we improve food and nutrition security, enhance livelihoods along the agricultural value chain, and reduce negative environmental impacts by eliminating the loss of food between field and market? 

This paper is entitled “Celebrating the Grim Future of Post-Harvest Loss” because post-harvest loss is an entirely solvable problem that we can eliminate in our lifetime. At its heart, our approach focuses on the value chain—from the field to the market. It starts with how and when farmers in the regions experiencing the greatest loss—especially small-holder farmers—plant, harvest, and store their crops, and continues along the chain to consider the transportation, handling, processing, packaging, and marketing which is required to improve the amount of food that reaches consumers. An efficient, productive food system with minimized loss is our goal—and one that is well within reach. We can ensure people are fed and that smallholding farmers move beyond subsistence incomes. The answers are evident, but they require investment, infrastructure, policy, technology, and real champions: committed collaborators across the public, private, and social sectors.

The principles and questions that follow are based on a synthesis of the post-harvest loss working group outcomes from the Global Engagement Forum: Live, supplemented by the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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