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Ready, Set…Go! Much Anticipated Post-Harvest Loss Congress to kick start in Rome, October 5-7

02 Oct 2015

Hundreds of post-harvest professionals are steadily making their way to Rome, Italy for the 1st International Congress on Post-Harvest Loss Reduction slated for October 5-7 in Rome’s Auditorium Antonianum. The much anticipated Congress is a unique joint initiative primarily led by the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign’s ADM Institute on Post-harvest Loss Reduction with the support of The Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction (SAVE FOOD) and The Rockefeller Foundation among others.

The SAVE FOOD Initiative has sponsored over 30 development professionals, mostly from research, academia, farmer’s movements and NGOs to attend the Congress and showcase their local and regional innovations to combat post-harvest losses via oral and poster presentations. Innovations such as SAVE FOOD’s partnership with the Eastern African Farmers’ Federation (EAFF) to create an E granary, a virtual platform which helps farmers to aggregate food produce and which then links them to national and regional buyers will be displayed.

SAVE FOOD will also present a study on Vitamin A losses  in selected food supply chains in Norway and Kenya. Led by FAO’s Warren Lee, the study estimated the scale of Vitamin A that could be made available from losses to feed Vitamin A deficient children under 5 years old.

The Congress is a high-level forum on PHL  prevention which aims to raise awareness on the significance of post-harvest losses in the context of global food security and hunger issues. The Congress will also build on platforms for sharing knowledge on post-harvest loss intervention and will promote the immediate needs that must be addressed to solve post-harvest loss issues sustainably.

Robert van Otterdijk, coordinator of the FAO-lead SAVE FOOD underscored the important need for a congress of this kind and highlighted the role that smallholders play in food production. “Smallholder farmers represent the majority of the world’s primary producers, yet are most vulnerable to financially crippling post-harvest losses; the major solutions to post-harvest losses must see small-holder farmers at the center of sustainable food production and must be devised with their needs as a priority,’’ he said. He also  re-emphasized the role of post-harvest loss reduction in transforming the living conditions of the poor in developing countries, “The Global Initiative believes that post-harvest loss reduction is a touchstone of agricultural development and poverty alleviation”.   van Otterdijk continued, “ we hope that discussions during the Congress are results-oriented and lead to  greater coordination and synergy among all the actors dealing in post-harvest loss reduction,  SAVE FOOD welcomes all participants of this Congress to Rome and hopes that increased collaboration and partnership are at the nucleus of these discussions

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