The world is facing serious challenges to meet the needs of its fast growing population, estimates show that by 2030 it will need 30% more water, 50% more energy and 50% more food. This needs to be managed in the context of climate change that may impact negatively on supplies of water and food.
Reducing postharvest losses offers a means of increasing food supply without any further increase in the use of vital resources such as land, labour, water and agricultural inputs. But postharvest loss reduction goes further than this, it also addresses losses in opportunity. Currently, many producers cannot access markets or are currently confined to lower value market chains through lack of product safety/quality, market information or business skills. Reduction in losses will both increase food supply and also improve the livelihoods of producers since they will be better able to access markets and operate in higher value, and more efficient, market chains. More lucrative markets offer the incentives to producers to adopt improved approaches and technologies that will make loss reduction a reality. This is also good news for the consumer because food supplies will be more stable as well as being safer, better quality and more nutritious. The staff of NRI has a blend of natural and social science skills that are ideal for planning and implementing projects on postharvest loss and waste reduction that deliver real development impact.
Incentives paid for better quality produce are the starting point for reducing losses
The Postharvest Losses Reduction Centre provides the intellectual underpinning for the assessment and reduction of losses and waste. It will help to ensure that interventions are carefully targeted. This will include special emphasises on the need for value chain analysis to define the incentives required for the adoption of loss and waste reduction measures and the importance of social and cultural factors in the adoption of new approaches. At the same time it offers unrivalled knowledge and skills in appropriate technologies for grain, fruit and vegetables, roots and tuber, and fisheries– as well as cross cutting skills in food safety, food quality, storage and processing, and economics.