WFP is scaling up a Post-Harvest Losses Reduction programme that sells low cost, locally produced silos and provides training to smallholder farmers in developing countries.

Global food production has reached a record high in recent years. However, one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, equivalent to 1.3 billion tons. Post-harvest food loss is a leading cause of food insecurity for millions families across the world. Achieving zero hunger by 2030 will require that no more food is lost or wasted.

By preventing post-harvest losses in food systems, we can increase the availability of food worldwide without requiring additional resources or placing additional burden on the environment. Food losses happen at every stage of the supply chain, as commodities become damaged, spoiled or lost while harvested, handled, processed, stored and transported. These losses are most significant in developing countries.

Post-harvest losses have significant nutritional, health, and financial impacts for both consumers and farmers, disproportionately affecting women, who are largely responsible for managing post-harvest drying, cleaning, and storage. For rural families, many of whom already live on the edge of hunger, lost food means lost land, water, fertilizer and income for those who can least afford it. Lost food also deprives farmers of the opportunity to grow and strengthen their businesses. 

In some developing countries, smallholder farmers regularly lose 40 percent of their harvest due to inadequate storage. Consequently,  many farmers sell their produce immediately after harvest—at a time when prices are low due to high supply – only to buy back the same produce later at increased prices

Reducing losses by up to 98%

With support of it’s Innovation Accelerator, WFP is training smallholder farmers on how to use improved post-harvest handling methods, combined with simple but effective hermetic storage equipment. The equipment—which is subsidized—is both air and water tight, helping to guard against insects, rodents, mould, and moisture. 

Participating farmers have so far been able to reduce post-harvest losses by up to 98%. Thanks to improved grain quality and the ability to hold on to their produce until prices rise during the lean season, they have managed to increase their income threefold and therefore significantly improve food security. For most farmers, the cost of buying the new storage devices is recovered within one harvest.

Properly used hermetic household storage units have the potential to increase food availability at the household level, and enable farmers to control timing of crop sales, improving household income.

Picture: 500 Litre Capacity Plastic Silos
Picture: A farmer inspects his crop
Regional roll out

So far, 93,000 smallholder farmers have participated in the WFP post-harvest programme, helping them save more food and sell more of their surplus in local markets.

Six other countries (Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Zambia, Burundi, Niger, and Rwanda) have already began rolling out the Uganda model, and seven others are in a preparation stage. In late 2017, WFP Sudan received a USD 19 million contribution to scale up operations in the next three years across the country. 

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