Food loss from harvest to farm gate innine major cash crops : a review

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This study reports the findings of a literature review on food loss measurements in on-farm activities in the supply chains of nine major cash crops (rice, sesame, quinoa, coffee, chillies, black pepper, cashew, hazelnut and cocoa). Food loss assessments are essential to identify food loss hotspots and implement appropriate interventions to reduce loss. A literature review was conducted of studies focusing on these nine crops that report loss figures for specific activities. These figures were combined to compile comprehensive loss profiles for each crop and identify loss hotspots. For most crops, however, this has not been possible due to limited information availability. For those crops for which a more or less complete loss profile could be compiled, loss figures reported by the different studies diverged considerably, leading to wide ranges of possible total losses and no clear identification of loss hotspots. Moreover, discussion of the studies’ used definitions, methodology, and research context show that overall reliability and comparability are limited. At present, the available primary data on specific product supply chains are too scattered to warrant actionable recommendations for improvements. The conclusions should serve as an impetus to address this data deficit, and solidify the evidence base to inform investment in interventions to reduce food loss in postharvest chains, specifically from harvest to farmgate. This not only pertains to the quality of data itself, but also entails harmonization of definitions and methodologies. Also for external funders, it is important to know where interventions can have the most impact, and for that purpose, the magnitude and hotspots of on-farm losses should be brought into focus more precisely and coherently, for a wide range of crops. For research in this domain, this requires alignment on definitions, methodologies, and reporting, as well as broad sharing of findings.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Food & Biobased Research
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameReport / Wageningen Food & Biobased Research


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