The Rockefeller Foundation’s Waste and Spoilage Initiative

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Waste and Spoilage Initiative

13 February 2015. Awareness: A Key to Reducing Post-Harvest Loss in Africa. The Rockefeller Foundation’s Waste and Spoilage Initiative  is working to identify opportunities and test key solutions in the supply chain to reduce food loss. 
They have learned that food loss in developing countries adversely affects the livelihoods of smallholder farmers by decreasing saleable harvest, reducing their ability to manage changing market prices and their income.

Besides this knowledge gap, other contributing factors to post-harvest loss are lack of market access, low adoption of technologies, improper drying, use of rudimentary threshing techniques, and lack of cooling systems after harvest and during transportation for goods like fruits and vegetables. These are some of the challenges that this initiative is trying to address.

Key critical factors to scaling up these innovations will be working with aggregated groups of farmers, and ensuring access to ready market for their produce, either through contract farming or direct sourcing. Processing and value addition are also key to reducing post-harvest loss, especially for fruits and vegetables.

In July 2014, the Waste and Spoilage Initiative team held a convening of private sector partners at Bellagio Center.

Various strategies and models are used to counter food loss. Kenya’s Uchumi Supermarket  currently processes overripe fruits from its own shelves before they ‘go bad’ and sells the juices to its customers. Additionally, it is working with other partners to promote tomato farming in greenhouses among its farmers to stagger tomato production and reduce excess supply from during peak season. This ensures that farmers get a fair price for delivered tomatoes throughout the year.


Published on 11 Sep 2014Smallholder farmers contribute 90% of food production in Sub-Saharan Africa, but 42% of fruits and vegetables produced by this farmers are lost because of post harvest loss. Post-harvest loss impacts different types of smallholder farmers in different ways.

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