Business Guide for Addressing Food Loss & Waste in Smallholder Value Chains

Image Credit: Sustainable Food Lab

Smallholder supply chains and family farms in the developing world hold exciting potential for reducing food loss and waste (FLW) and increasing the profitability and sustainability of our food systems. For this reason, the Sustainable Food Lab and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) are eager to announce the creation of a newly developed Business Guide for Addressing Food Loss & Waste in Smallholder Value Chains, a tool for sustainability professionals seeking to reduce food loss and waste (FLW) in smallholder value chains.

With funding from The Rockefeller Foundation’s Yieldwise Food Loss Initiative, the Business Guide was created from a growing body of knowledge around smallholder FLW. Throughout the last year, the Food Lab and WUR engaged Olam, VP Group (formerly VegPro) and Sainsbury’s to pilot a practical yet rigorous approach to measuring smallholder food loss and waste.

You can find more detail on the findings of these pilot studies, here.

Our work with Olam found 35 percent food loss and waste across their entire smallholder rice value chain in Nigeria. All of these losses occurred in the harvesting and handling phases of production. With Sainsbury’s and VP Group we found 59 percent of French Beans were lost or wasted from the moment they were harvested to the moment they were graded and sorted in Nairobi.

From these pilots, the Sustainable Food Lab and WUR were able to develop guidance for companies to determine when FLW measurement in smallholder value chains is necessary and how to approach it in a practical way that will lead to valuable business insights. This Guide is aligned to the WRI’s Food Loss and Waste Standard and Protocol.

A reduction in upstream FLW in smallholder systems is an opportunity not only to increase bottom lines, but also to deliver on critical and often difficult to achieve commitments like reduced GHGs, increase resource use efficiency, improved farmer livelihoods.

In tandem with the Business Guide, the Food Lab and WUR worked with the Cool Farm Alliance to support the development of a new Food Loss & Waste Module for the Cool Farm Tool. This module enables companies to track food loss and waste inside the Cool Farm Tool and look at these losses alongside the GHGs generated as a result of production of this crop. This allows users to understand the GHG implications of loss and begin tackling multiple sustainability objectives at once.

If you’d like to learn more about this work or discuss how we can support you to reduce FLW in your smallholder value chains, please reach out to Stephanie Daniels at sdaniels@sustainablefood.org(link sends e-mail).  More information about the Food Lab’s work on FLW can be found here.

Find the original version of that article here.

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