The Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that around 30 per cent of all food is lost or wasted after harvesting. This translates into inefficient use of limited natural resources such as water, land and biodiversity.
It is important to ask how losses on this scale arise and why producers, processors and consumers allow it to happen. These questions have not yet been explored in depth, but some plausible explanations have been put forward. The decline in investment in rural areas over many years provides the structural basis for food loss. Furthermore, the low prices paid to producers in recent decades have given farmers no incentive to invest in storage capacity and other upgrades. Producer prices are now rising, presenting an opportunity for small-scale producers to find a renewed courage to invest.
This folder explores the issue of food loss in more detail and presents current experiences, challenges and areas of action.