Food Loss and Waste in Fish Value Chains
©FAO/ Aina Randrianantoandro

Multi-dimensional solution to fish loss and waste

Food loss and waste (FLW) is a manifestation of poorly functioning food systems. It is widely recognized that significant levels of FLW occur in the food supply chain from production to consumption. Although much of the underlying cause of fish loss and waste is quality and spoilage, solutions to FLW are wide ranging, complex and interlinked. Informed decision making regarding solutions to FLW in fish value chains is hampered by a lack of robust evidenced based data particularly on the impact of interventions/solutions.

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) provided funding for a three year project (2021-2023), known as the Responsible use of Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources for Sustainable Development Project. Under Component 5, the project will enhance the sustainable utilization of fisheries and aquaculture products and its contribution to livelihoods and food security through the application of multi-dimensional solutions to reduce FLW in fish value chains. Through the activities proposed, the project will contribute to addressing the knowledge gap on reducing and preventing FLW.

Project Background

Food loss and waste in fish value chains leads to economic loss and contributes to food and nutrition insecurity. Losses occur from time of harvesting and at subsequent stages of the value chain. Interventions to reduce or prevent FLW have tended to focus on technological solutions at a certain point in the value chain, with less attention paid to the regulatory framework, the socio-economic, gender, cultural context, as well as access to services and the market. The project will address the root causes of significant losses in important value chains and contribute to improvement in economic benefits, food and nutrition security, natural resource use as well as negate environmental impacts and waste streams. Furthermore, the project will apply a broader and holistic approach to FLW solutions as proposed by this website. This will consider upstream and downstream value chain activities and the implications these have on overall FLW.

The outcome of Component 5 is the sustainable utilization of fisheries and aquaculture products and its contribution to livelihoods and food security enhanced. In order to achieve this outcome, the following activities needs to be carried out.

Output 5.1: Enhanced capacity of fish value chain stakeholders in FLW solutions

Activity 5.1.2. Build capacity of value chain actors in FLW solutions (including on-going mentoring)

This activity provides support to value chain actors by building their capacity on the various interventions to reduce or prevent FLW using multi-dimensional solutions. Due to the complexity of fisheries and aquaculture value chains, FLW solutions can require actions involving policy, technology, skills and knowledge, services and infrastructure, regulatory environment, social and gender equity, and good linkages to and understanding of markets. This approach is captured by the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Food Loss and Waste Reduction[1]

Output 5.2: Improved application of multi-dimensional solutions to reduce FLW

Activity 5.2.1. Establish and support the operation of multi-stakeholder FLW platform/advisory group, whether institutionalized or not

This activity supports the project implementation at national level by establishing a multiple stakeholder platform for FLW reduction. The platform members would likely include: public and private sectors, NGOs, food bank charity organizations, food R&D institutes, investors/financial institutions, large retailers, media, non-fish food producers. Such a platform will help guide project activities and will be nurtured by the project to become a self-sustaining entity.

Activity 5.2.2. Collect and analyse information and data on FLW in value chain(s), conduct FLW assessment and establish project baselines, using a variety of assessment methods and tools for example EFLAM, load tracking, QLAM, Gender-responsive methodology and the SDG fish waste survey approach

In order to effectively target and design solutions, the magnitude, impact, and causes of FLW and behaviour of the involved actors must be fully understood. FLW assessment requires the collection of data and their analysis using a variety of methodologies and tools. The assessment methodologies or tools to be used depend on the available data and information on FLW in the country. In countries for which there is already FLW data or value chain analysis has recently being carried out, the project will provide opportunities for interventions or low hanging fruit interventions which will enable the project to hit the ground running.

Activity 5.2.3. Identify priority/significant FLW reduction/prevention opportunities and holistic FLW solutions approach

This activity strengthens the capacity of stakeholders to identify priority FLW interventions based on the results of the loss assessment. Addressing FLW in fisheries and aquaculture value chains requires a multi-stakeholder approach focused on a combination of some or all of the following entry points: policy, appropriate technology, skills and knowledge, services and infrastructure, regulatory environment, social and gender equity, as well as good linkages to and knowledge of markets.

Activity 5.2.4. Implement multi-dimensional FLW solutions approach, taking into consideration innovative solutions linked with IUU, blockchain initiatives, renewable energy, and artificial intelligence innovations, as well as more traditional interventions related to value addition technologies and access to credit

This activity highlights the importance of implementing multi-dimensional FLW solutions approach, combining traditional and innovative, cost-efficient methods with appropriate technologies. Policy issues, application of appropriate technology, skills and knowledge development, access to services and infrastructure, the regulatory environment, social and gender equity, as well as good linkages to and knowledge of markets can all provide opportunities for FLW solutions. FLW solutions are closely associated with innovation. Blockchain initiatives can improve traceability and consumer trust, renewable energy can be used to develop energy-efficient cold chains, artificial intelligence can optimise production.

Output 5.3: Strengthened evidence based FLW knowledge products developed and disseminated

Activity 5.3.1. Develop evidence-based guidance including FLW solutions planning, impact of FLW solutions, policy guidance

Through the various events and activities supported by the project that lead to better understanding of the scope and magnitude of FLW and the identification of appropriate solutions using a multi-dimensional approach, evidence-based guidance on designing and planning loss assessments, and implementing and monitoring the impact of FLW solutions will be developed.

Activity 5.3.2. Develop and refine the FLW hotspot tool including e-learning modules, to assess and identify priority value chains developed and applied to guide decision making

To guide the stakeholders in assessing and identification of priority value chains, a FLW hotspot tool that can be used in decision-making will be developed. E-learning modules and other information, education and communication (IEC) training materials based on the results of the project will be produced for awareness raising and education.

Activity 5.3.3. Disseminate project knowledge products broadly, including updating Food loss and waste in fish value chains website using project outputs

Harnessing the power of different media (radio, newspaper, television, video, social media), ICTs and digital innovations as well as formal and informal education channels, this activity will disseminate the project knowledge products. In particular, it will include updating the Food loss and waste in fish value chains website.

[1] Voluntary Code of Conduct for Food Loss and Waste Reduction https://www.fao.org/3/nf393en/nf393en.pdf