Improving our estimates of postharvest losses: APHLIS+ launch
Launched in 2009, APHLIS is a scientific model which provides evidence-based estimates on postharvest cereal losses (PHLs) across 38 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The APHLIS+ network meeting, hosted by the Natural Resources Institute in Accra (Ghana) 5-9 September 2016, provided postharvest experts from 26 African countries with the opportunity to exchange information on their respective use of the system and methods of loss data collection, and discuss and plan the roll-out of APHLIS+. Representatives from FAO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation were also present at the meeting, and were joined by delegations from Ghanaian institutions and NGOs active in the postharvest sector, as well as from the FAO Regional Office for Africa, for the official project launch on 8 September. APHLIS+ is a five-year initiative which will seek to upscale the current model, as well as introduce new crop varieties.
In developing countries, reliable loss data is scarce, and consequently there is little indication of what impact losses have on smallholder productivity and welfare, and on food security. The current APHLIS system was launched to remedy this situation (for cereal grains), but the new model will look to expand on this. By giving reliable estimates of losses to decision-makers, it will help them design interventions to improve the efficiency, yield and income of agricultural providers - at a national and provincial level - in an effort to combat food poverty.
Dr. Bruno Tran, of the Natural Resources Institute, explains how the project will make significant changes to the agricultural landscape: “The original APHLIS model provided weight loss estimates for cereal crops, however, APHLIS+ will introduce estimates for three new crop types: pulses, roots and tubers, plantain and bananas. Its added value means we will also be able to provide open data on the economic value and nutritional profile of crops lost, improved online and interactive tools to access loss data and of course, an expanded African PHL expert network. We are very excited about the new developments and are aiming at being recognised as the industry standard for postharvest loss estimations in the near future. In the meantime, we wish to sincerely thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for making this work possible.”
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