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A Systems Approach to Food Loss and Solutions: Understanding Practices, Causes, and Indicators

Author

Listed:
  • Monika Verma

    () (Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen University and Research, 2595 BM Den Haag, The Netherlands)

  • Christine Plaisier

    () (Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen University and Research, 2595 BM Den Haag, The Netherlands
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

  • Coen P. A. van Wagenberg

    () (Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen University and Research, 2595 BM Den Haag, The Netherlands
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

  • Thom Achterbosch

    () (Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen University and Research, 2595 BM Den Haag, The Netherlands)

Abstract

Reasons behind food loss can be very specific for each product and supply chain stage but it is also affected by factors independent of the product and stage. This work focuses on such generic factors and develops a framework to analyze food loss as a systemic outcome. The framework highlights the interconnected nature of problem across supply chain stages and therefore emphasizes the need to look at the whole system instead of specific stages, when proposing solutions. Practices and underlying causes contributing to food loss are identified for each stage of the supply chain using a literature search. Deductive logic is used to fill the gaps where literature was found to be scarce, and to derive socio-economic indicators that signal the presence of identified causes. Using this framework, we propose a non-exhaustive list of 30 socio-economic indicators, which can signal the presence of the 22 practices and 60 causes associated with food loss in supply chains. This list can serve as a starting list for practitioners and policymakers to build on when analyzing food losses in supply chains in their region. We evaluate the framework using a field-study of a tomato supply chain in Nigeria, and conclude that it can be a useful tool to identify practices, causes, and indicators of food loss.

Suggested Citation

  • Monika Verma & Christine Plaisier & Coen P. A. van Wagenberg & Thom Achterbosch, 2019. "A Systems Approach to Food Loss and Solutions: Understanding Practices, Causes, and Indicators," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(3), pages 1-22, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:3:p:579-:d:200017
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jeremiah Ng’ang’a & Christopher Mutungi & Samuel M. Imathiu & Hippolyte Affognon, 2016. "Low permeability triple-layer plastic bags prevent losses of maize caused by insects in rural on-farm stores," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(3), pages 621-633, June.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    systems approach; conceptual framework; food loss practices; food loss causes; food loss solutions; supply-chain stages; literature; socio-economic indicators; tomato; Nigeria;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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