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Tackling food waste from field to fridge

A carrot that has long lost its crunch. Half a loaf of bread growing spots of mould. Yet another bottle of gone-off milk. If this list sounds familiar to you and evokes a pang of guilt at how much food ends up in your kitchen bin, you are far from alone. 

Globally, one-third of all food is lost or wasted in total every year. 

Household rubbish bins are just part of the problem. Food is wasted at all points along the supply chain, with big differences in when food is wasted in different places. In industrialised countries, losses mainly happen at retail and consumer levels. In developing countries, food waste mainly happens at the start of the supply chain: food is wasted before it gets to market, at post-harvest and processing levels.

Will you make a donation today and stand with farmers in eastern Africa who are tackling food loss?

Food is lost in the fields. Crops are eaten by mice or rats while being stored in poorly constructed warehouses. Harvests are condemned by fungal infections when grain is stored without being properly dried.

Post-harvest losses are one of the big factors trapping African smallholders in poverty.

Poor handling practices reduce the proportion of harvests that farmers can sell, while lack of access to storage facilities and transportation forces farmers to sell what they can at the farm gate during harvest time when prices are at their lowest.

Lower prices, in turn, undermine incentives for future production, keeping yields low and threatening food security.

Sometimes food loss is also driven by farmers not meeting market quality specifications for their produce for reasons such as over-mature or premature produce being harvested or dehydration, which can cause crops like beans to curve. These crops are still edible but no longer acceptable to premium markets.

According to the World Food Programme, enough food is produced to feed the world’s 7 billion people, yet 811 million people still go to bed hungry each night.

If you can, please donate today and help farmers reduce poverty and increase food security.

Tackling post-harvest losses and improving quality standards is key to driving up smallholders’ incomes and reducing poverty.

That's why across its projects, Farm Africa helps tackle food waste right at the start of the supply chain by helping farmers to:

Reduce post-harvest waste

Simple measures like the use of waterproof sacks can reduce the loss of crops at field level. 

Improve drying

Laying crops out on a tarpaulin in the sunshine makes sure that they are dry before they are put in storage, reducing the risk of fungal infections. 

Gain access to better warehouses

Moisture-controlled warehouses are offering farmers safe storage for their crops.

Improve crop quality

We give farmers access to drought-tolerant seeds so they can grow high-quality crops, even in dry conditions. We also encourage farmers to use planting calendars, so they know the best time of year to grow and harvest different produce.

These measures are increasing the amount of grain available for consumption at home and the surplus available for sale, and enabling farmers to safely store crops for a few months so they can sell outside peak harvest season, contributing towards increasing volumes traded and the price received by farmers.

Please donate today

Your donation helps farmers improve harvesting processes and food storage, reducing the amount of food that's lost. This in turn cuts carbon emissions from decomposing food!

And of course, less food loss and waste means more food sold, which means less hunger and less poverty.

Photos: Farm Africa / Esther Mbabazi / Maheder Haileselassie