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Published:
Last Updated:
23 Jul 2019

Missing Food

The Case of Postharvest Grain Losses in Sub-Saharan Africa

Low-income, food-defi cit countries have become especially concerned about the global and national food situation over the past three years. While the proximate cause of this heightened concern was the surge in food prices that began in 2006 and peaked in mid-2008, concerns remain for other reasons, among them the higher market-clearing price levels that now seem to prevail, continuing price volatility, and the risk of intermittent food shortages occurring repeatedly far into the future. For lower-income Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries, ongoing contributing factors include persistently low productivity, diffi culty adapting to climate change, fi nancial diffi culties (inability to handle the burden of high food or fuel prices or a credit squeeze), and increased dependence on food aid. Yet there is an additional, often-forgotten factor that exacerbates food insecurity: postharvest losses (PHL). They can and do occur all along the chain from farm to fork, which reduces real income for all consumers. This especially affects the poor, as such a high percentage of their disposable income is devoted to staple foods.

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References

Knowledge Lab
Grain Storage