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SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

Mainstreaming food loss reduction initiatives for smallholders in food deficit areas

According to a 2011 report by the World Bank, FAO and the United Kingdom's Natural Resources Institute, grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa alone are worth potentially $4 billion a year and could meet the minimum annual food requirements of at least 48 million people.

The “Mainstreaming food loss reduction initiatives for smallholders in food deficit areas” project, implemented by the Rome-Based UN Agencies (RBA) FAO, IFAD, and WFP, funded by the Government of Switzerland aims to improve food security and income generation opportunities through reduction of food losses in supported food grains and pulses value chains.

By mobilizing the individual strengths of the three agencies, the joint project will have significant impact and influence in stimulating Member Countries to take action to reduce food losses and is expected to be a model for future collaboration and up-scaling of RBA collaboration. It will contribute both to the Millennium Development Goal of improving food security and to the Zero Hunger Challenge launched in June 2012 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which includes zero loss or waste of food as one of its main elements.

This three-year project’s outcomes are as follows:

Outcome 1: Good practice options for reducing post-harvest losses are compiled, disseminated and scaled up.

  • Global Community of Practice (CoP) is established for knowledge sharing, partnering and mainstreaming
  • E-learning module and lessons on food losses are developed

Outcome 2:  Improved handling and storage options within the grains and pulses value chains are benefiting smallholder farmers in pilot countries: Burkina Faso, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

  • Critical points for food loss reduction are identified in selected agri-food supply chains and viable solutions formulated based on national level loss assessments.
  • Capacity developed and strengthened at key loss points for multi-stakeholders.
  • Potential solutions to reduce food losses are piloted/tested.

Outcome 3: Policy and regulatory framework (policy, standards, norms) on reducing food losses in food supply chains are introduced and implemented at national and regional levels

  • Proposals for improved national and regional policy and regulatory frameworks which are conducive to food loss reduction.
  • A proposal for Multi-stakeholder Voluntary Guidelines for quantitative food losses reduction for consideration in the envisaged follow-up project

The objectives of the project will be reached by implementing the following activities at the global, regional and national levels:

1. A Global Community of Practice (CoP) established for knowledge sharing, partnering and mainstreaming: A global CoP is launched as the global reference centre for food losses.

2. Critical points for food loss reduction identified in selected agri-food supply chains and viable solutions formulated: National level loss assessments will be implemented in pilot countries (Burkina Faso, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo). The critical loss points identified will be validated in national fora and interventions will be planned and implemented based on those critical points.

The following major crops have been proposed for loss assessments in the pilot countries as a result of consultations at national level during project formulation:

  • In Burkina Faso: maize, sorghum, cowpea
  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo: rice and maize
  • In Uganda: maize, oilseeds, beans

3. Capacity developed and strengthened at key loss points for multi-stakeholders: Training will be delivered at national and regional level, through workshops and where necessary through specific technical experts or service providers.

4. Potential solutions piloted/tested: the three pilot countries will engage in testing and validating solutions to effectively reducing these losses. At national level collaboration between the agencies will facilitate the identification of support to upscale successful interventions. Additional solutions will also be sourced through the other SDC funded projects on post-harvest management and through this CoP.

5. Policy and regulatory development supported and enabled through evidence based knowledge provision. Knowledge and capacity developed through the first two Activities will lead to the preparation of proposals for improved national and regional policy and regulatory frameworks which are conducive to food loss reduction. It is also suggested to develop a proposal for Multi-stakeholder Voluntary Guidelines for quantitative food losses reduction for consideration in the envisaged follow-up project (Phase 2).

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