Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste

Ongoing online discussion forum on losses occurring along maize supply chains: levels, causes, solutions and success stories

Virtual Event, 13/10/2014 - 13/01/2015

“What are your experiences in levels of grain losses, particularly maize? How were they measured? What solutions can be/were implement to reduce these losses? What success stories can you share with the Community?

In Kenya, the SAVE FOOD Initiative and key stakeholders joined efforts to reduce food losses and improve food security in the country by examining critical points along the food supply chain where losses occur. The case studies published recently evaluated the magnitude of food losses, the main causes, and the cost- effectiveness of food loss prevention measures specific to four food supply chains: bananas, dairy, fish, and maize.  The findings on maize highlighted that 3% of grain losses occur at the drying stage on farm, and 8 to 10% are caused by weevil damage during storage. Other causes of losses have been identified and assessed along the supply chain. Higher losses in the maize supply chains take place among the less skilled chain actors, who lack awareness of the importance of the losses and what can (easily) be done about them. In many cases adequate supervision of unskilled labour would reduce losses. However, the cost of supervision is an obstacle for small-scale farmers and rural traders.

Food loss reduction measures and strategies have also been identified along the maize supply chain:

The measures identified to reduce losses include 1) mobile grain driers and improved storage at community level, 2) small metal silos for grain storage, 3) mechanized harvesting, 4) producer sensitization and training, 5) equipment calibration, 6) grain drying centres, and 7) grain consolidation centres.

A thorough analysis of their economic feasibility, environmental impact as well as social acceptability and the way they are going to be managed are needed before they can become actual recommendations.

Loss reduction strategies identified include 1) Awareness raising combined with training and organization of smallholders to build supply chain actors to recognize the effect of food losses on food security and on their economic benefits, and the need for upgrading and developing the supply chain for better performance and higher margins, 2) Value chain development and organization, 3) centralisation and contract services.

Specific approaches required to successfully implement these strategies have been recommended.

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