Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems - E-consultation to set the track of the study

03.04.2013 - 30.04.2013

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in its thirty-ninth Session (October 2012) requested the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE), to undertake a study on ‘Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems’ to be presented to the Plenary in 2014. This report has to be policy oriented, practical and operational.

As part of its report elaboration process, the HLPE is launching an e-consultation to seek views, public feedback and comments, on the pertinence and interconnections of some key questions that the report proposes to address, in line with the request from the CFS, and that could form the building blocks of the report. References of global and national studies and data on the subject, especially on food waste, are also welcome.

The feedback received will be used by the HLPE Steering Committee to finalize the terms of reference of the study and the HLPE Project Team that will be appointed to prepare the study and policy recommendations.

To download the proposed scope, please click here.
If you wish to contribute, send an email or use the form below.

The consultation is open until 30th April 2013.


In parallel, the HLPE is calling experts interested in participating or in leading the Project Team for this report. Information on this call is available on the HLPE website. The HLPE Steering Committee will appoint the Project Team after review of candidatures.

The HLPE Steering Committee

Kevin Moran Kemnovation Ltd, United Kingdom

Improved quality of some fruit, vegetable and tuber crops, particularly their resistance to physiological breakdown disorders, can be strongly linked to the use of specific fertilizers. The use of fertilizers containing nutrients such as calcium (Ca), potassium (K) and boron (B) can extend the life of these crops after harvest and onwards to markets. Furthermore a reduction in physiological breakdown disorders reduces the sensitivity of crops in transit to pathogenic attack and the onset of rotting. Both the above benefits from appropriate fertilizer applications will contribute to a reduction in wastage in the food chain.

I have many examples of replicated trials work by the international fertilizer industry to demonstrate these benefits from fertilizers and would be very willing to contribute these in a presentation at the plenary.

I am also a Corresponding Member of IFA ( and am active on their Post-2015 SDG's Group on which reduction of food wastage is a focus topic.

If you need further explanation I am happy to comply,

Dr Kevin Moran, Kemnovation Ltd. 

Kodjo Dokodjo Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery, Togo

Dear all,

The proposed orientation for the study focuses on food waste and gives key issue as food distribution and consumer behavior. Of course, this is true but there is another form of food waste in developing countries due to the lack of development of infrastructure and the most suitable technologies to address them.

Food consumer behavior often depends on food distribution: if the offer is higher than the demand, this contributes to food waste. This means, as the price of the food is very low, the consumer has purchased the smallest quantity that he cannot use.

Sometimes in developing countries, the agricultural production is higher than the demand. The surplus of the production is often wasted because there is no infrastructure and suitable technology for storage or conservation. Vegetables such as tomatoes, okro… and tubers such as yams are subjected to waste during the seasonal production. In rainy season, tomatoes are so produced that their cost price is ten times lower than that in the dry season. As there is no purchaser, they are often left on the ground uselessly. This situation often brings the producer not to harvest the crops.

Senait Regassa Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Ethiopia

Dear Sir/Madame,

Many thanks for the chance to provide ideas regarding reduction of food losses and waste in order to bring about a sustainable food system.

My first suggestion is to take stock of what went well and not so well in the past efforts to reduce food loss in developing countries. Lessons learnt globally from former initiatives should give direction for our future strategies.

I would also like to make other suggestions based on an assessment we did in some parts of Ethiopia.

Access to credit is very crucial for technology adoption. Adoption of a technology can be economically rewarding but that is not a sufficient condition for a resource poor farmer to decide to take up the technology as s/he might be constrained by lack of cash.

Low cost and freely available chemicals that are not supposed to be used on food grains may discourage adoption of other appropriate options. Biosafety regulations and enforcements are areas that need to be closely looked at in connection with reducing food losses.

Another crucial aspect is ensuring political commitment to take on post harvest losses as a core issue in the national food security/agriculture agenda coupled with capacity building in Rural Advisory Services in general.

Best Regards

Emad Mahgoub Agricultural Researc Corporation, Sudan

Dear all,

Importance of farm gate to concumer's food chain:

- Eating patterns

- Environmental impact

- Resources use

Importnce of eating patterns:

- Available supply of 3,000 Kcal/person

- of which 500 from animal and aquatic products

This would iply in OECD countries

* A 25 % drop in available Kcal,

* an over 50 % drop in calories from animal products (1200- 500)


MAHGOUB Emad Ahmed

William Silva FADURPE, Brazil

Concordo que o desperdício ainda é altissimo no Brasil, e no mundo. Atuo na área de produção de alimentações escolares, e temos acompanhado os processos logísticos das empresas fornecedoras, bem como temos tentado minimizar as perdas e desperdícios de alimentos em nosso processo de produção, distribuição e consumo. No entanto, há muitos elementos que não contribuem para tal fato se concretizar em 100%. Alguns dos elementos são: os tipos de embalagens - que favorecem o desperdício; o não gerenciamento logístico é outro elemento que favorece a perda; a utilização integral dos alimentos in natura - quanto à este elemento temos criado uma cultura de aproveitamento máximo dos insumos, contudo enfrentamos barreiras culturais (no aspecto alimentar). Enfim, precisamos de subsídios mais variados para conter este fato: desperdício.

Andrew Daudi Malawi

Many farmers lose a lot of produce this time when harvesting has started. In Malawi, the losses can go as high as 30-40%. This is a significant figure that we cannot afford to sustain food security development. Malawi Government is on subsidy program and we cannot afford to lose this much. If we improved on this loss to 7% loss, we do not need to further increase the subsidy program, just look after what has been produced and stored properly. The losses originate from the field with infestation by Sitophilus maize weevils and Prostephanus truncatus, the Larger Grain Borer. Some rotting occurs due to high humidity and improper drying processes. The storage dust pesticides are usually obsolete and it even leads to pesticide treadmills. In processing the grain, high losses abound and if we manage all these processes well, I do think we can sustain food security Development initiatives.

Dr. Andrew T Daudi, Malawi

PS Agriculture, retired

Jane Battersby African Centre for Cities , South Africa

We at the African Food Security Urban Network ( have been working on urban food security and food systems within the Southern African context. Within South Africa we have undergone rapid supermarketization of the food system, which has shifted consumption and production trends within the country.

While there has been much focus on reducing post-harvest food loss within the region, and increased interest in reduction food waste at the household scale, the role of the supermarket itself as a source of food waste has not received substantial attention. The work of Food Bank in South Africa has been important in deferring some food waste from the supermarket sector to agencies that support food insecure households, however this organization addresses only a small proportion of the food waste generated by the sector.

In 2012 one of my Masters students completed her thesis which examined issues of policy and practice which acted as barriers to the wider deferment of supermarket food waste from landfill. It was particularly interested in the reframing of food waste as potential resource. Our municipal waste policies in Cape Town that seek to defer waste from landfill address only municipal waste and household recycling, neglecting the retail sector as a source of waste that could (in theory) be more easily separated and re-used than household waste. It became apparent through the course of the thesis that there were disconnects between government policy and its framing of waste and the mechanisms to enact these policies. In addition, the supermarkets were not consistent in the transfer of their sustainability policies from head office to store level and although waste was framed as a potential resource at the strategic level, the day-to-day management of waste within the store reduced waste to just something to be gotten rid of as quickly as possible. This made it difficult to conceive of any other waste management system other than the efficient systems that simply took food waste to landfill.The following URL provides access to the thesis:

I would happily share a link to this thesis should there be interest.



Dr Jane Battersby-Lennard
African Centre for Cities,
University of Cape Town.

Kelly Martins Ministério de Desenvolvimento Social e Combate à Fome, Brazil

Enquanto Especialista em Desenvolvimento Sustentável e Analista de Políticas Públicas em Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional e Agricultura Familiar do MDS, sugiro algumas ações para o combate ao despedício de alimentos:

1 - Produção deve ser mais próxima do local de consumo; a fim de evitar perdas e gastos com translados longos, os quais também trazem impactos ambientais negativos. Nesse sentido, deve ser dar prioridade para projetos que produzam mais próximos das áreas urbanas. Isso também reduz os custos do alimento, pois os gastos com transporte diminuem.

2 - Promover a realização de parcerias entre produtores, donos de mercados, restaurantes, numa rede, para aproveitamento de alimento em instituições de caridade, creches, asilos, etc.

3 - Lembrando que na Natureza nada se perde, nada se cria, tudo se tranforma (Lavoisier), os dejetos orgânicos devem ser totalmente encaminhados para compostagem, a fim de produzir adubos orgânico para produção de  mais alimentos;

4 - Devem ser promovidas ações educativas junto à população, em escolas, associações, para que aprendam a aproveitar melhor os alimentos (ex. folha de cenoura, casca de manga, folha de mandioca...) em sua alimentação diária, assim como a aprender a cultivar alimentos mais perecíveis, como tomates, folhas, etc;

5 - Deve ser promovida uma relação mais próxima e direta entre consumidor e produtor de alimentos, pois isso evita a perda dos alimentos nas permutas entre os vários sujeitos envolvidos, ajuda na geração de renda e sustentabilidade do produtor e contribui na redução do custo do alimento.

Manuel Flury Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Ethiopia

Thanks a lot for this opportunity to share pespectives on food losses and food wastes.

Cultural aspects - at household and community levels - may not be underestimated. In our preliminary assessments in Ethiopia and in feasibility studies carried out in Tanzania, we encountered

- access to stored crops needs to be secured for both women and men, individually. This has implications for the technologies and their appropriateness for household storage

- people tend to favor storage within their premises, protected from potential misappropriation and as well hidden from "the eyes" of others, them not to know the amount of harvests stored.

Best regards

Manuel Flury, Global Programme Food Security
Swiss Agency for Development and Coopertion
Addis Ababa / Ethiopia

Analúcia Couto Brazil

Políticas Públicas que possam garantir a logística ao escoamento da produção de alimentos oriunda da agricultura familiar

Ampliar o mercado institucional aos agricultores familiares para ale'm do PAA e Pnae comercializarem seus produtos para a produção de refeições coletivas feitas nos quartéis da Aeronáutica, Exército e Marinha, Hospitais Públicos, Universidades, Ifet's, Restaurantes Populares

Garantir a manutenção das estradas vicinais que escoam a produção

Garantir veículos apropriados , climatizados para o transporte de seus produtos perecíveis (frutas, legumes e verduras)

-Incluir o Tëcnico de Nutrição e Dietética onde tenha a produção de alimentos e refeições coletivas ( escolas,creches hospitais, restaurantes populares), unidades processadoras de alimentos, laticínios,banco de leite materno

Adequação da legislação sanitária à realidade da capacidade produtora da agricultura familiar

Aproveitamento dos alimentos desde o cultivo à colheita,processando legumes e frutas fora do padrão comercial mas com as carcterísticas nutricionais preservadas em preparações ïn natura  "embaladas e comerciliazadas no mesmo dia que chegarem às unidades de processamento que podem-se localizar nas Ceasa's, próxima aos produtores