The amount of food lost or wasted after harvest adds up to 1.3 billion tonnes every year. These losses have a major impact on economic and food security, especially for people in the developing world. Now, a new project is helping us to understand the nutritional implications of postharvest losses for the first time.
Methodologies and tools have been developed through APHLIS (the African Postharvest Losses Information System) that enable us to estimate weight losses along postharvest value chains and, to a lesser extent, the economic value of these losses. However, no methodologies as yet exist for estimating postharvest nutritional losses.
The NUTRI-P-LOSS will examine postharvest losses in terms of their nutritional composition, including the quantity of vitamins, minerals and proteins that are lost. The project is developing a methodology to estimate nutritional postharvest losses along the value chains of food crops in low and middle income countries – the first in the field to do this.
NUTRI-P-LOSS will focus on important food security crops: cowpea, maize and sweet potato and nutrient losses of the macronutrients (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates) and micronutrients considered to be the most important in terms of deficiencies (vitamin A, zinc, and iron).
Using a combination of literature review, laboratory studies and field verification in Uganda and Zimbabwe, the project will generate a model for predicting nutrient losses. This tool will link to the new APHLIS+ online platform, which covers an expanded number of crops and types of data, including weight and economic loss.
NUTRI-P-LOSS will estimate nutritional losses related to:
The steps of the methodology are as follows:
Measuring nutritional losses along the value chain will deepen our quantitative and qualitative understanding of these losses, which is critical for understanding the contribution of agricultural interventions to nutrition improvement. The tool can be used to generate case studies that support policy recommendations regarding the nutritional implications of postharvest reduction.
The approach offers a cost-effective and sustainable means for the APHLIS network to disseminate the methodology to other countries and apply it to other commodities (cereals, pulses, and roots and tubers).
The two-year project (£250 000), led by the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) at the University of Greenwich, is being carried out in partnership with scientists from the University of Zimbabwe, the National Agricultural Research Laboratories in Kawanda, Uganda (NARL), the International Potato Center (CIP), Purdue University and Iowa State University in the United States, some of which are involved in the APHLIS+ project.
The project comes under the research initiative known as IMMANA or Innovative Metrics and Methods for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions, which is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and coordinated by the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH).
This side event is open to all AAPHCE participants. Introduction Substantial crop losses occur at various stages along the postharvest value chain. The African Union’s Malabo Declarat... Read more ›
Exactly a year ago, the World Health Organization formally named COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then, the virus has swept across the world, leaving over 100 million cases and 2.5 million reported deaths... Read more ›
Postharvest losses are widely understood to have serious financial consequences for farmers. Such losses waste not only food, but also the land, water, labour and other inputs used in agricultural p... Read more ›
(updated on 20 March 2020 and 25 February 2021) Postharvest losses do not only squander food, and the land, water, labour and other inputs used to grow crops. A new APHLIS tool reveals the... Read more ›
Food loss includes the physical loss of food as well as quality losses that can diminish the economic value of a crop, or make it unsuitable for human consumption. Food waste, by contrast, refers to... Read more ›
One of the greatest challenges for agricultural research and development is to feed the world’s growing population – expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030 – while crop yields are in... Read more ›
APHLIS is producing a series of maps that provide early warning information on climate-based risks of aflatoxin contamination, a major threat to plant, animal and human health A powerful poison... Read more ›
APHLIS leads the effort to increase the use of scientific information to inform postharvest loss reduction policies at national and international levels. The Malabo Declaration commits African g... Read more ›
Stemming postharvest loss will be critical if we are to feed the world in the face of a changing climate. At the same time, climate change is creating conditions that could make postharvest loss an e... Read more ›
Postharvest loss experts from sub-Saharan Africa met in Rwanda in August to consider the challenges involved in collecting data on postharvest losses. Participants pledged their commitment to finding... Read more ›