Measuring Food Loss Among Senegalese Growing Food Businesses
The Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS) project, funded by USAID and implemented by Food Enterprise Solutions (FES), developed food loss protocols to help food businesses identify and track food loss to better understand how it affects their bottom line. This Technical Learning Note describes our experience in applying these protocols to real businesses in Senegal to assist them to reduce food loss through the adoption of better food handling practices. BD4FS works with private sector growing food businesses (GFB) to understand the challenges and opportunities that will drive these businesses, especially financial costs and benefits, to reduce their postharvest losses (PHL). One of the challenges in this private sector approach is that GFBs often perceive that the adoption of postharvest food handling practices is too costly, that the return on investment is too far in the future and the benefits are not immediate. Therefore, unless buyers are willing to pay more for products resulting from improved practices — sorting, cool storage and increased sanitation — GFBs have reported to BD4FS that they feel it is not worth the effort or investment. Moving from perceptions of what the cost/benefit of changing postharvest food handling practices may be to the measurement and analysis of what they actually are is a key focus of this study. By helping GFBs to accurately document their degree of food loss, they will be able to calculate the cost/benefit relationship between changing practices and adopting technologies to significantly reduce food loss and waste (FLW). BD4FS believes that “seeing the numbers” will convince GFBs that strategic and targeted investments will result in reduced FLW, increased revenue and better quality, as well as safer food for customers.