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The Reality of Food Losses: A New Measurement Methodology

Maximo Torero (), M. Schuster and L. Delgado

No 277439, 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia from International Association of Agricultural Economists

Abstract: Measuring food loss, identifying where in the food system it occurs, and developing effective policies along the value chain are essential first steps toward addressing the problem in developing countries. Food loss have been defined in many ways, and disagreement remains over proper terminology and measurement methodology. Although the terms postharvest loss, food loss , and food waste are frequently used interchangeably, they do not refer to the same aspects of the problem. Also, none of these classifications includes preharvest losses. Consequently and despite its presumed importance, figures on food loss are highly inconsistent, precise causes for food loss remain undetected and success stories of decreasing food loss are few. We address this measurement gap by developing and testing three methodologies that assess the magnitude of food loss; we compare these against the methodology traditionally used. The methods account for losses from pre-harvest to distribution, and include quantity loss and quality deterioration. We apply the instrument to producers, middlemen and wholesalers in eight staple food value chains in six developing countries. Results suggest that losses are highest at the producer level and most product deterioration occurs previous to harvest. Traiditionally used self-reported measures seem to consistently underestimate the loss. Acknowledgement :

Keywords: Research; Methods/; Statistical; Methods (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr
Date: 2018-07
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