Here’s How We Can Cut Food Loss For Small Farmers From 40% to 2%

Published March 19, 2019
Africa’s small-scale farmers lose up to 40 percent of all the food they harvest.

This loss leaves millions of people hungry throughout the year. Why? Because of entirely preventable reasons like insects, rats and mold. These post-harvest losses have a greater negative impact on Africa than conflict, HIV and malaria – combined.

Brett Rierson, the head of the United Nations World Food Programme’s Global Post-Harvest Knowledge & Operations Center, is trying to change that with big, blue plastic silos.  The locally-manufactured U.N. World Food Programme silos can hold up to 925 pounds of dried beans, nuts or corn, and they are upending traditional farming for thousands of families.

The opportunity to change people’s lives is enormous, and the U.N. World Food Programme has just begun. There are an estimated 200 million farming families in Africa, and they all face losses of 30-40 percent. We aim to have 50 million of them using silos within the next 10 years.

The cost: $3.27 per family.

The benefit: If only one-third of the lost food could be recovered, it would feed more than 870 million people.

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