Improved supply chain management and logistics

Reducing food losses and waste through better logistics models

11/10/2019 - 

In complex supply chains, logistics is key to ensuring a proper flow of goods and services. Applying effective logistics models can help multiple actors across food supply chains improve mechanisms which ensure delivery of high-quality, safe food. In the long run, this can also help to reduce food losses and lessen the impacts of humanitarian crises by improving disaster mitigation, preparedness, and recovery. 



In collaboration with: The Kühne Foundationa Swiss-based foundation focusing on training, education and research in the field of transport and logistics

Timeframe: 2014-2017

Benefitting: FAO staff, public sector officials, smallholder farmers

Geographic coverage: Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Tanzania

Contributing to: 



In many contexts, lack of infrastructure, investment and proper knowledge pose a major challenge to smooth logistics processes. In areas prone to natural disasters and in conflict-affected contexts, the need to establish enhanced logistics structures is even more urgent. Developing the necessary technical knowledge, building capacity on logistics systems to ensure agile and effective supply chains, and improving preparedness to emergencies are all key success factors for actors who are committed to reducing food loss and supporting rural livelihoods. 



To address these challenges, FAO and Kühne Foundation partnered in 2014.

The purpose of the collaboration was threefold: 

  • to improve humanitarian logistics (the process of training, planning, implementing, and controlling the cost-efficient flow and storage of goods and materials); 
  • to enhance preparedness and logistics related to Level Three emergencies (where support is mobilized across the entire humanitarian system); and 
  • to optimize food supply chains and food loss reduction, contributing to achieving the goals of FAO projects in food logistics and reduction of food loss and waste. 

The Kühne Foundation provides capacity building and knowledge exchange in logistics for agriculture, both in emergencies and for the development of efficient food and agricultural systems. Under the framework of this collaboration, Kühne Foundation supported FAO in improving the efficiency of its logistics systems for humanitarian emergency preparedness and development of programmes for optimal food systems, including in urban areas. The partnership also enabled FAO to address the critical issue of capacity building among key officials, from both the public and private sectors, who are involved in activities related to agro-industrial logistics. 



Following an assessment of FAO field staff training needs and an assessment of the supply chain operational process to identify areas of potential improvement, the main activities carried out under this partnership have focused on delivering logistics trainings to strengthen logistical functions and supply chain management of FAO’s operations in South Sudan and Tanzania.

Following the pilot initiatives in South Sudan and Tanzania, FAO and Kühne Foundation organized a regional training in Somalia in December 2017, where twenty FAO staff from various country offices in Africa participated in supply chain simulations, warehousing and transportation exercises and warehouse visits. FAO and the Kühne Foundation have also jointly developed the Food Supply Chain Analysis Tool (FSA), a three-layer tool for upstream, midstream and downstream logistics designed for use by urban planners and municipalities. Based on analyses of vegetable supply chains in Nairobi markets, this new tool aims to assess efficiency of supply chains and allow planners to have a lay-of-land situation and be able to make informed decisions on urban food systems to improve accessibility, especially in low-income urban areas. The FSA is currently under improvement with the goal of eventually enabling it to capture more efficiency variables in food logistics and to improve quantity cation of waste in the food supply chains.



The collaboration enabled the design of a warehouse management plan, plus standard operating procedures and good practices in relation to warehouse management. FAO South Sudan was able to significantly increase its logistics capacity, developing more structured and organized processes and recruiting additional staff specifically for logistics. 

"The training was very informative. What I liked most was the visit to the Kühne Nagel warehouse, which enabled me to understand better the different processes our goods go through especially when we order goods outside the country and the assurance of safety of FAO consignments while we await clearance, whether they require cold chain or just normal storage. We were also able to learn the systems put in place to ensure safety of workers in the warehouse while at the same time security of clients’ goods awaiting dispatch to final destinations."

- Cyrus Warigia, Logistics and Fleet Management Associate, FAO Kenya



The capacity building carried out through this partnership ensures that FAO staff in the field, especially those who are involved in logistics activities, have the right mix of technical and management competences to carry out activities beyond the partnership collaboration. Kühne Foundation staff continued to provide support after delivering the trainings, allowing FAO staff to continue learning as they implemented proper logistics solutions, and ensuring that the knowledge imparted during the training was fully integrated into the work of the office.


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