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Guidelines on the measurement of harvest and post-harvest losses

Estimation of crop harvest and post-harvest losses in Malawi. Maize, rice and groundnuts. Field test report









​FAO. 2020. Guidelines on the measurement of harvest and post-harvest losses – Estimation of crop harvest and post-harvest losses in Malawi.  Maize, rice and groundnuts. Field test report. Rome.


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    Guidelines on the measurement of harvest and post-harvest losses
    Estimation of maize harvest and post-harvest losses in Zimbabwe. Field test report
    2020
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    In the framework of the Global strategy to improve agriculture and rural statistics (GSARS), FAO provided technical assistance to Zimbabwe on the measurement of harvest and post-harvest losses through sample surveys. The technical assistance was provided in the form of a pilot study on estimating harvest and post-harvest losses for major crops in the Makonde district in the communal and A1 farming sectors. The survey focused on maize and sorghum and included the measurement of on-farm losses. The survey captured losses through interviews of farmers as well as through physical measurements. The number of usable data points for sorghum were too few to provide reliable production and loss estimates, hence the results presented in this report mostly refer to maize. The results show that 5.2 percent of grain is lost at harvest and 3.8 percent lost at drying. The comparison of the loss estimates according to the measurement method used shows mixed results; in A1 farming sectors, farmers’ own loss estimates tend to be lower than physical measurement, while the opposite is evidenced in the communal sector (except for drying). Timely harvesting was used by most farmers to limit losses, followed by stoking when harvesting and the use of chemicals to protect crops from pest infestations during storage.
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    Combining farm and household surveys with modelling approaches to improve post-harvest loss estimates and reduce data collection costs 2022
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    While there is growing awareness of the issue of food losses at the political level, official post-harvest loss data for informing policymaking and reporting on SDG Indicator 12.3.1. (a) Food Loss Index is scarce. Representative sample-based surveys are necessary to obtain information on on-farm losses at the country level, but due to the issue’s complexity, a loss module covering several key questions is needed. One main strategy proposed by the 50x2030 Initiative for optimizing data collection is sub-sampling for some of the survey modules. This paper examines whether modelling approaches can be combined with sub-sampling to improve harvest and post-harvest loss estimates and allow for further sample and cost reduction. The paper first presents the loss models generated on four selected surveys conducted in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria, which were built using the Classification and Regression Tree (CART) method. The performance of each model is assessed for different sizes of sub-samples to improve the sample-based estimates, either by model-based estimates or by model-based imputation. The research concludes that the model-based estimates improve the loss estimates of the sub-samples due to post-stratification implied in the CART method, whereby they can constitute a cost-effective complement to sub-sampling strategies, while model-based imputations should only be used on a reduced number of missing observations. The models perform best when the survey invests in obtaining more detailed on-farm loss data and considers some key variables identified as relevant for on-farm loss models. Sub-sampling allows for investment in more detailed questionnaires and some considerations are derived for its design.
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    A Strategy for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the Volta Basin riparian countries’ post-harvest chains and regional trade 2016
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    Fisheries and aquaculture are essential for food and nutrition security, employment, income generation and improved livelihoods. The Volta Basin provides a significant number of fisheries and fisheriesrelated jobs. However, operations face significant challenges including multifaceted issues, with inefficiencies at the upstream and downstream levels. In order to understand how to improve this situation sustainably, the NEPAD-FAO Fish Programme (NFFP) conducted pilot studies on postharvest fisher ies losses in the riparian countries of the Volta Basin. The main objective was to gauge the performance of the post-harvest chain by assessing the causes, nature, contextual patterns and extent of these losses within this shared waterbody. The NFFP thus developed the capacity of fisheries officers and fishers in carrying out loss assessments and in designing sustainable loss-reduction cost-effective interventions. This comprised building a sound understanding of fish losses and their intricate dimensions, including a knowledge-sharing gender analysis process, and generating lessons and elements for an informed strategy for sustainable reduction of post-harvest losses and greater regional trade in fishery products. This strategy was developed following the regional workshop “Improvement of post-harvest chains and regional trade in countries bordering the Volta Basin”, which took place from 18 to 20 February 2014 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, organized by the NEPAD Planning and Coordina ting Agency (NPCA) and FAO, through the NFFP with the support of the Directorate of Fisheries of Burkina Faso. This consultative meeting of stakeholders identified drivers and determinants of post-harvest fish losses and trade barriers in the Volta region.

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