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SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

Applying FAO methodology to assess losses including causes and solutions in four food subsectors in India; rice, chickpea, milk and mango

The field case studies to assess losses as well as identifying causes and solution for losses in four selected food supply chains in Andhra Pradesh - India in the subsectors rice, chickpea, milk and mango is a key activity of the Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. These studies are funded by Messe Düsseldorf, and implemented by a consultancy firm which was selected by FAO through a competitive bidding process. The terms of reference for the studies, including the methodology, have been developed by the agro food industry group of the FAO nutrition and food system division (ESN), and thorough instruction and discussion with the team of the consultancy firm - Sathguru Management Consultants, took place to achieve full compliance and comprehension as well as uniformity in execution of the studies.

Objectives of the field case studies

The problem of food waste and loses is of such magnitude and complexity that it cannot be addressed by one organization alone. World-wide, many initiatives are currently being taken to reduce food losses and waste but there is a lack of coordination and collaboration sometimes lead to potential overlapping and duplication. In addition, as the body of evidence and understanding is developed, lessons learned, new findings and best practices should be easily accessible to all those working on food loss and waste reduction.

This project aims to:

  1. increase awareness on the causes, impact and approaches to reduce food losses,
  2. enhance collaboration and synergy of initiatives on food loss reduction;
  3. increase adoption of good practices to reduce food losses in specific value chains. It will do so by providing a platform for centralizing and sharing information, developing analysis, creating necessary coordination mechanisms and supporting capacity building on FLW Reduction.


The project supported the development of a new methodology to assess the extent, causes, impact of food losses and solutions. In the past 40 years the classical approach to reduce postharvest losses was based on statistical surveys and rural appraisals, followed by technology interventions and economic analysis. This appeared not to be sufficiently successful. The new methodology of field case studies goes deeper in the complex subject matter of FL, finds the symptoms, causes and reasons for the causes of FL, discloses interactions along the food supply chains, and above all assesses the feasibility of solutions against the background reality of social structures, cultural habits, the climate and environment, the contribution to nutrition and food security.

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