There is a great need to ensure that food that is already produced is not lost or wasted in handling, storage, processing or marketing.  FAO estimates that about one-third of the food produced in the world (1.3 billion tons) goes to waste every year, varying by country, climate and year.  Estimates from the European Commission (2011) show that in 2007, more than 50 M metric tons of maize and wheat were lost, valued at $14B and sufficient to feed 380 million people.  The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that 40 percent of food in the US is wasted.  In many developing countries, food is lost at many steps along the value chain and lack of refrigeration compounds this problem.

Areas of research include:

  • Identifying the casual factors of post-harvest losses including transportation, storage and handling on a country-wide basis.
  • Develop models for assessing the post-harvest loss on a country-wide basis.
  • Develop appropriate low cost technology and best management practices that are cost effective, scalable and sustainable to mitigate the loss.
  • Asses the efficacy of robust, low-cost containers that can be locally manufactures and used to eliminate storage insect infestations.

It is critical that we find better means of storing and transporting food.  GFSC researchers are exploring unique, interdisciplinary approaches utilizing experts in post-harvest, agriculture, engineering, and socioeconomics to find solutions for post-harvest food security issues.