Portail de l'appui aux politiques et de la gouvernance

Issue paper

A holistic approach to food loss reduction in Africa: food loss analysis, integrated capacity development and policy implications

Food insecurity in the African context is a critical issue; yet total food losses are estimated at 15.9% and 17.2% in quantity and in caloric value, respectively (FAO, 2019). Currently across the continent, there is insufficient funding and the lack of policy mechanisms to support interdisciplinary analytical approaches and data collection systems to better inform the reduction of food loss.

This paper highlights the critical need for a paradigm shift of current research and development programs aimed at food loss reduction, as demonstrated by findings of a project implemented in Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda by the United Nations Rome-based Agencies (RBAs) – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Quantitative and qualitative food loss data generated by applying the FAO Food Loss Analysis (FLA) methodology to identify critical loss points in the supply chains of nationally prioritized staple food crops, informed the development of practical knowledge-sharing tools and policy guidelines on food loss reduction and contributed to the development of a comprehensive approach for mainstreaming food loss reduction strategies and solutions into national strategic frameworks.

Furthermore, a holistic approach that integrates multi-stakeholder engagement, and evidence generation through the implementation of pilot activities to shape local and regional policies and strategies proved essential to the realization of beneficial outcomes in the respective countries. The project also recognized the critical importance of integrating gender considerations and particularly the inclusion of women in harvest and post-harvest operations and in decision-making. All of these outcomes have contributed to the advancement of knowledge and strategic approaches toward reducing postharvest loss, achieving SDG target 12.3 and meeting the targets set by the Malabo Declaration. In short, the project effectively translated commitment into action in all three beneficiary countries