Press Release 98/47
FAO: BETTER INFORMATION SHARING COULD REDUCE POST-HARVEST FOOD LOSSES - NEW DATABASE LAUNCHED
Rome, 27 July - Post-harvest food losses could be significantly reduced if important information and knowledge on different technologies, products and experiences was better shared globally, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today. The Organization announced the launch of a new Internet-based "Information Network on Post-Harvest Operations" (INPhO) to improve information exchange between research and development institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Every year millions of tonnes of cereals, roots and tubers in developing countries never reach the consumer because of poor storage, damages by insects, rats and other pests, and transport and marketing problems. In developing countries, overall post-harvest losses of cereals and grain legumes of about 10 to 15 percent are fairly common, FAO said. In some regions of Africa and Latin America the losses are estimated at up to 50 percent of the harvest.
Rice losses in Asia amount to more than 15 percent. Even if it were possible to reduce losses economically by one-tenth, the food saved in Asia alone would amount to more than five million tonnes annually, according to FAO.
INPhO will collect and disseminate data on proven technologies and products in post-harvest losses. It will assist research and development organizations, including the private sector, through upgrading post-production systems. INPhO will also report on progress achieved in reducing post-harvest losses.
A major database (http://www.fao.org/inpho) will give producers and consumers information on indigenous technologies for food handling, preparation and processing, marketing and improved new technologies. Food producers, researchers, policy-makers, private investors, donors and NGOs can exchange local and national expertise and compare results on the effectiveness of different post-harvest technologies through e-mail conferences and open electronic forums.
INPhO will be run by the FAO Agro-Industries and Post-Harvest Management Service, in collaboration with the French "Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement" (CIRAD), the German "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit" (GTZ) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
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