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Horticultural Science

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News Article

Postharvest loss reduction interventions database

Evidence-based analysis critical for reducing postharvest losses

scoping review of postharvest crop loss interventions in 57 countries in subsaharan Africa and South Asia revealed the need for a systematic assessment of interventions across the entire value chain over multiple seasons and sites, and a need for investment in training, finance, infrastructure and policy at the stakeholder level.

Reducing postharvest losses has the potential to improve farmer incomes, to increase nutritional security and to reduce greenhouse gases by making best use of inputs. Given the scope for improvements, investment in postharvest practices has increased over the last five decades, but it is clear that this investment has not translated into the expected outcomes and benefits. It is also clear that summarized information to support evidence-based investments and policy is scarce.

For this study, the Ceres2030 postharvest team reviewed postharvest loss (PHL) reduction interventions for 22 food crops across 57 countries in subsaharan Africa and South Asia from the 1970s to 2019. A collection of 334 studies was used to synthesize the evidence and build an interactive online open-access database – Postharvest loss reduction interventions database - searchable by crop, country, postharvest activity and intervention type. The 22 crops studied included cereals, legumes, roots and tubers, and fruits and vegetables - horticultural crops studied included citrus fruits, mangoes, onions, tomatoes, bananas, leafy vegetables and pawpaws. Interventions which were technically effective, and critical gaps in the evidence base, were identified by crop group.

The study concluded that training, the adoption of appropriate tools or technologies, effective handling practices, sound policies and marketing-related improvements are needed to reduce losses, and the resulting analysis provides decision makers with data for informed policy formulation and prioritization of investments in PHL reduction.

Article details

  • Author(s)
  • Alexis Rendell-Dunn
  • Date
  • 26 July 2021
  • Subject(s)
  • Tropical & subtropical fruits
  • Vegetables