Food Security and Minimizing Postharvest Loss

February 13, 2013
Soybeans Harvested on a Farm in Argentina

On February 19, the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs along with the Office of Global Food Security and the Foreign Service Institute will host the conference "Food Security and Minimizing Postharvest Loss." Government officials, representatives from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and foreign diplomatic corps will discuss the issue of postharvest loss, focusing on Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

Postharvest loss is collective food loss along the production chain, from harvest and handling to storage and processing to packing and transportation. Each year, roughly one-third of the food produced in the world is lost or wasted -- equal to around 1.3 billion tons. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, $4 billion worth of grain is lost annually. Given that global food demand is expected to increase by 60 percent by 2050, the problem of postharvest loss must be addressed. The U.S. government has served as a global leader in this area, particularly through Feed the Future, President Obama's global hunger and food security initiative.

The causes of postharvest loss are complex and will vary depending on the weather, region, and crop. This conference will focus on postharvest loss in low-income countries and aim to identify promising research innovations and business practices that help reduce postharvest loss and facilitate collaboration across for-profit, government, and non-profit spheres.

You can join and follow the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #KeepWhatUReap.

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