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SDG Indicator 12.3.1 - Global food losses

Indicator 12.3.1 - Global food loss index

The Global Food Loss Index (GFLI) focuses on post-harvest losses that occur from production up to (and not including) the retail level. It measures the changes in percentage losses for a basket of 10 main commodities by country in comparison with a base period. GFLI will contribute to measure progress towards SDG Target 12.3. 

By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.


This indicator identifies food losses from farm to consumer through modeling the impacts of food storage, safety, transport and general functioning of food value chains. The results will help countries tailor programs to improve the efficiency and functioning of their food supply system and decrease supply losses and demand waste.

Key results

The two-pronged FAO approach to food loss data

SDG target 12.3 has two components, Losses and Waste that should be measured by two separate indicators. A proposal for measuring Food Waste, which comprises the retail and consumption levels is under development. 

There are significant challenges for moving work ahead at the national level on the Food Loss & Waste (FLW) and the SDG 12.3, due to the lack of national statistics data on FLW in many countries. FAO is assisting countries in:

1. analysing and measuring food losses along the production/supply chain (up to and excluding the retail level). To support countries in developing postharvest loss surveys, the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics researched and tested cost-effective data collection methods for grains and pulses that will be publicly available for countries at the beginning of 2018. Additional guidelines for measuring losses on fruits, vegetables, dairy, livestock and fisheries are being developed based on country best practices and will be available in the first quarter of 2018. Furthermore, case studies are conducted to identify critical points and causes of losses along the food supply chain. These food supply chain analyses are an important pre-requisite in deciding the scope and focus of the sample surveys as well as for targeting policies.

2. in imputing losses of food-related crop and livestock commodities, within the framework of the Food Balance Sheets (FBS), using a hierarchical model that estimates losses for commodity clusters based on several factors that have been found in the literature and through consultation which contribute to losses. For those countries where data is missing, FAO has developed a model for estimating post-harvest losses at the national level. 

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