Does reducing food losses and wastes in sub-Saharan Africa make economic sense?Waste Manag Res. 2018 Jun; 36(6):483-494.WM
Reducing food losses and waste (FLW) is one of the sustainable ways of closing the food requirement gap in developing countries. However, there is not yet adequate knowledge on the extent of FLW by commodity type and stage of the food supply chain (FSC). Focusing on ten agrarian countries in Africa and building mainly on the Food and Agriculture Organization's Food Balance Sheets (FBSs), this study generates some new insights on the level of FLW by country, FSC and food type. Across the FSC, we find that these countries lose a cumulative amount equivalent to 28% (641 kilocalories per capita per day - kcal/cap/day) of the current calorie intake. Within the FSC, the production and post-harvest handling stages contribute the greater shares of the total losses with 38% or 244 kcal/cap/day and 34% or 218 kcal/cap/day, respectively. Our results also show that farm incomes would increase by 20% if the avoidable losses and waste were recovered. These results are troublesome given the level of poverty and food insecurity in these countries and suggest inefficient and unsustainable use of natural resources (water and cropland) associated with the FSC losses.