As World Environment Day kicks off this week, many conversations will center on food waste, including the unintended loss of food. Food loss stems from poor harvesting techniques, lack of transportation infrastructure and inadequate processing and storage facilities.
Spoiled crops deprive a population of much-needed nourishment. The amount of food lost in Africa alone could feed 300 million people. Food loss also reduces farmers’ income by up to 15 percent because their harvest never reaches the marketplace.
IFDC is committed to getting food from farm to fork. Below are three post-harvest storage and processing solutions to prevent losses:
- Developed by Purdue University, PICS bags are inexpensive grain storage containers. In 2014, our CATALIST-2 project linked 12 farm organizations to a maize processing plant in Burundi. The producers were trained to store maize using PICS bags. The sacks keep maize fresh and safe from insects for up to three years.
- Farmers using inventory credit systems store agricultural commodities in a secure facility until market prices increase. The stored crops are used as collateral for loans from banks or micro-finance institutions. The system reduces spoilage and helps farmers receive the best price for their harvest.
- Easily perishable food – like cassava – must be stored quickly and properly. Mobile processing units bring the factory to the grower. This prevents transporting the highly perishable roots over long distances. The processed cassava starch can be used for a variety of products, from pasta to beer.
Do you have ideas on reducing food loss? Share them with us on Twitter @IFDCnews.