PIM webinar:Measuring food losses: a new methodology

Event Date: 
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Webinar: Measuring food losses: a new methodology

When: 8 May 2018, 10-11 AM EST
Presenter: Eduardo Nakasone (IFPRI / Michigan State University)

Open grain storage in India. Photo credit: S. Mittal/CIMMYT

The United Nations has recognized the importance of reducing food loss and waste in the Sustainable Development Goal target 12.3 to “halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses” by 2030.

Despite broad interest in the problem, measurement of food loss and waste is problematical, especially in developing countries. Most calculations use aggregate data from food balance sheets provided by national or local authorities. These estimations are subject to considerable measurement error, rely on proxy data, or are not necessarily based on representative samples. Alternative micro-calculations are often based on case studies that are not representative of larger populations. Additionally, analysts use different definitions of food loss, hampering comparisons across different areas and crops. As a result, estimates of food losses are widely variable and do not provide robust evidence for interventions to reduce them.

In this webinar, we will discuss a methodology to measure food losses developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) team working under the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM). The survey-based methodology has three main innovations. It allows measurement across different nodes of agricultural value chains to pinpoint the locus of loss. It includes the economic value of loss due to quality deterioration as well as physical reduction in quantity. It characterizes and identifies particular processes in the value chain where food losses occur.

We will present the results of the application of the method in the value chains of maize and beans (in Guatemala and Honduras), teff (in Ethiopia), wheat (in China), and potatoes (in Ecuador and Peru). We will also discuss ongoing work to assess interventions to reduce loss.

Related readingThe reality of food losses: A new measurement methodology

About the presenter

Eduardo Nakasone is an Associate Research Fellow in the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division (MTID) of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and leads the work on food loss in the CGIAR Research Program on Policy, Institutions, and Markets (PIM). He holds a concurrent position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics (AFRE) at Michigan State University. He earned a BS in Economics from Universidad del Pacífico (Lima, Peru) and an M.S. / Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.