Reducing Food Loss and Waste at the Farm Level: Seeking Sustainable Path to Food Security

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 June 2024 | Viewed by 8694

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia, Griffin, GA 30223-1797, USA
Interests: agricultural and food economics; consumer choice and behavior; environmental economics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Management Information Systems, Bilecik Seyh Edebali University, Bilecik 11100, Turkey
Interests: agricultural economics; production economics; consumer demand analysis; agribusiness management; econometrics; statistics; time series analysis; health economics; environmental and resource economics
Academy of Global Food Economics and Policy, Beijing Food Safety and Strategy Research Base, College of Economics and Management, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China
Interests: environmental economics; sustainable agricultural development; food economics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Food losses and food waste remain high and display high variation across food categories in rural households, household locations in various economic zones, and different cultures. Plant-based foods account for a sizable share of both waste and loss, suggesting that the path to reduce waste may vary with food category. Fruits and vegetables account for a relatively higher waste and loss share than other plant foods. Factors aggravating the situation include inadequate storage facilities, an insufficient logistical infrastructure needed to move crops to consumption centers, and processing capacity, as well as the natural attributes of the crop. Food loss and waste represent wasted resources, including water and land, compared to if farmers could produce in an environmentally sustainable way, particularly if supplied with new-bred, improved varieties.

Food loss and waste avoidance make the choice of crops, farming techniques, and technology location-specific, as the variations in weather patterns suggest climate adaptation as an alternative path to food insecurity mitigation. The ability of rural communities to raise food but their failure to protect it post-harvest handling implies the need for education and training, especially for limited-resource farmers, and stakeholders within the supply chain, to minimize food loss and waste.

Prof. Dr. Wojciech Florkowski
Prof. Dr. Abdulbaki Bilgic
Dr. Ting Meng
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • food waste
  • food loss
  • small enterprise
  • small farmer
  • consumer behavior
  • sustainability
  • input waste
  • food (in)security

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 1504 KiB  
Article
Synergy between the Waste of Natural Resources and Food Waste Related to Meat Consumption in Romania
by Teodor Ioan Trasca, Monica Ocnean, Remus Gherman, Raul Adrian Lile, Ioana Mihaela Balan, Ioan Brad, Camelia Tulcan and Gheorghe Adrian Firu Negoescu
Agriculture 2024, 14(4), 644; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14040644 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 738
Abstract
The study examines the dichotomy between individual dietary autonomy and the broader implications of food overconsumption and waste, particularly focusing on meat consumption’s environmental, health, and social equity aspects. In the context of increasing awareness about the negative impacts of excessive meat consumption, [...] Read more.
The study examines the dichotomy between individual dietary autonomy and the broader implications of food overconsumption and waste, particularly focusing on meat consumption’s environmental, health, and social equity aspects. In the context of increasing awareness about the negative impacts of excessive meat consumption, this research explores the potential benefits of modest dietary shifts, specifically a reduction in animal product intake, on natural resources and the environment. Utilizing data from international and Romanian sources, including data about meat environmental impacts, in original research, the article analyzes the water, carbon, and land use footprints associated with different types of meat, emphasizing the significant differences between beef, pork, chicken, and sheep meat. The findings highlight that even a small reduction in meat consumption, such as 100 g per week per capita, can lead to substantial decreases in water use, carbon emissions, and land use, underscoring the importance of sustainable eating habits. Moreover, the study explores the potential of plant-based proteins as viable nutritional alternatives that can mitigate environmental footprints and foster global food security. Conclusively, this work advocates for a balanced approach that respects individual choices while promoting collective responsibility towards sustainable consumption patterns, emphasizing the role of scientific research and public awareness in driving positive change in dietary habits for environmental conservation and health benefits. Full article
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31 pages, 1924 KiB  
Article
Analyzing Food Loss in the Fresh Longan Supply Chain: Evidence from Field Survey Measurements
by Roengchai Tansuchat, Tanachai Pankasemsuk, Chanita Panmanee, Tanapol Rattanasamakarn and Konnika Palason
Agriculture 2023, 13(10), 1951; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13101951 - 6 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1853
Abstract
Aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 12 and Sub-Indicator 12.3.1.a, this study rigorously examines food loss dynamics in the longan value chain—encompassing the stages from production to wholesale. Longan, a key commodity in Thailand’s national food loss index calculation, undergoes a comprehensive evaluation following [...] Read more.
Aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 12 and Sub-Indicator 12.3.1.a, this study rigorously examines food loss dynamics in the longan value chain—encompassing the stages from production to wholesale. Longan, a key commodity in Thailand’s national food loss index calculation, undergoes a comprehensive evaluation following FAO guidelines. This study aims to quantify quantity loss in fresh longan fruit, which pinpoints critical loss stages for targeted policy recommendations. Additionally, it seeks to establish a robust methodology for data collection and calculation, providing a model for evaluating food losses in tropical fruits. Results disclose varying loss percentages across supply chains: quantitative loss 14.07% and qualitative loss 11.02% for domestic consumption, quantitative loss 13.50% and qualitative loss 14.82% for export-bound fresh longans on-season, and quantitative loss 9.85% and qualitative loss 6.52% for export-bound fresh longans off-season. Critical loss stages are identified—particularly over-ripe longan harvesting due to labor shortages and price volatility. Further factors contributing to food losses encompass insufficient pre-harvest handling practices, which result in subsequent post-harvest losses, deficiencies in SO2 fumigation and storage processes, as well as transportation-related issues. This study’s contribution lies in its comprehensive guidance, emphasizing field survey measurements and aligning with the FAO guidelines, making it a vital tool for quantifying and addressing food loss, especially in the tropical fruit sector. Full article
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19 pages, 2216 KiB  
Article
How Much Food Loss and Waste Do Countries with Problems with Food Security Generate?
by Daniel Durán-Sandoval, Gemma Durán-Romero and Francesca Uleri
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 966; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13050966 - 27 Apr 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4925
Abstract
Worldwide, the number of people suffering from hunger is around 702 and 828 million, and 2.3 billion people have moderate or severe food insecurity. This situation is striking, considering that the vast amount of food discarded globally equals 1.3 billion tons annually. For [...] Read more.
Worldwide, the number of people suffering from hunger is around 702 and 828 million, and 2.3 billion people have moderate or severe food insecurity. This situation is striking, considering that the vast amount of food discarded globally equals 1.3 billion tons annually. For this reason, in 2015, world leaders agreed to a global agenda for 2030, adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among its objectives, are to fight against poverty, hunger, and gender inequality worldwide and achieve environmental sustainability. With this framework, this article uses a top-down mass balance approach to calculate food loss and waste (FLW) by country’s food security level. In addition, it explores the causes of FLW and its impacts on natural resources, climate change, food security, and the SDGs in countries with a weak and moderate level of food security. The estimated global FLW was 1498 million tons of food in 2017. The most food discarded was concentrated in countries with good food security, 894.3 million tons. In contrast, the lowest food discard occurred in countries with a weak level of food security, 11.4 million tons. The primary outcome of this paper is to establish a link between the levels of food security and food loss in different countries, which may serve as a guide for the design of specific public policies. Full article
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