Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Agricultural losses

Image: ChriKo, Male Locusta migratoria migratorioides photographed in Katavi National Park, Tanzania, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
22 October 2018

Losses of wheat, rice and maize to insects could increase by 10 to 25% per degree Celsius of climate warming, according to this paper. This is due to two main factors: insects have faster metabolisms at higher temperatures and therefore need to eat more; and insect population growth rates will also change with temperature.

12 September 2018

The World Wildlife Fund has released a report measuring on-farm crop waste at various locations in the United States. During the 2017-18 growing season, 40% of tomatoes, 39% of peaches, 2% of potatoes and 56% of romaine lettuce were left in the field. Causes of waste at the farm stage include strict quality standards, damage due to weather, variable consumption patterns and unpredictable labour supply. Some growers pointed out, however, that the nutrients in on-farm waste food are almost always recycled, e.g. as animal feed or by ploughing the waste back into the field.

Image: Graham Hogg, Surplus to requirements, Geograph, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
9 May 2018

Fresh fruit and vegetables deliberately withdrawn from the market and destroyed under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy accounted for 5.1 Mt CO2 eq. in embedded production-stage emissions between 1989 and 2015, according to research by FCRN member Stephen Porter of the University of Edinburgh.

26 February 2018

A report from food waste charity Feedback investigates what role supermarkets play in the production of food waste on UK farms.

Photo: jbloom, plate scraping, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 Generic.
29 March 2017

This paper looks at how we can achieve greater food and nutrition security in a sustainable manner by reducing waste and it also analyses how losses impact overall food system efficiency.  It quantifies the food wasted throughout the food chain (10 stages) from primary production to human food consumption and also looks at the impact of livestock production on both food system biomass efficiency and feed crop losses. The paper defines wasted food energy of livestock production in terms of its poor efficiency in feed conversion ratios (ie. only some of the feed livestock consume end up as meat and dairy, with the rest loss via respiration, dung and urine). 

 
Photo: South African Tourism, Northern Cape, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
11 October 2016

Recent assessments have strongly suggested that meeting the widely agreed target of limiting global warming to less than 2°C will require the deployment of substantial carbon sinks in addition to measures to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This perspective article examines the latest research and thinking on the ability of agricultural soil management to reduce GHG emissions and promote soils as carbon sinks, and the practical feasibility of implementing available soil management practices

Credit: James Bowe, Apples by the road, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
28 September 2016

This editorial article focuses on an aspect of agricultural food loss and waste, not often considered: the effects that a reduction in food loss and waste at the production stage, might have on the species that have become reliant on food waste.

(Photo credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government, Flickr creative commons licence 2.0)(Photo credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government, Flickr creative commons licence 2.0)
7 July 2016

As the climate changes, and food demand increases, crop varieties suited to these conditions need to be developed. The authors of this paper warn that crops yields around the world could fall within a decade unless action is taken to speed up the introduction of new varieties. They propose three ways to improve matching of maize varieties in Africa to a warmed climate: reduce the BDA (the process of breeding, delivery and adoption), breed under elevated temperatures and act to mitigate climate change.

18 June 2015

A new paper published in Environmental Science and Technology finds that measures to mitigate agricultural GHG emissions potentially risk increasing global hunger more than the impacts of climate change on crop yields itself.  The study draws upon global models to quantify:  a. the impact of climate change on yields in the absence of mitigation, b. the impact of bionergy production (as one mitigation measure) on competition for land and associated food prices and c. finally, the costs associated with mitigating the impacts of climate change by introducing a carbon tax.  Introduction of this tax is assumed to lead to increase in use of renewable fuels (wind, power, geothermal, bionenergy) and ‘abatement from non energy sources’ – which presumably includes agriculture although they do not specify what sort of abatement this would be.

20 May 2015

One of the main concerns about bioenergy is that its production potentially competes with land needed to produce food.  In this paper researchers discuss the potential of a bioenergy feedstock/vegetable double-cropping system, in which both biofuel and pumpkin are produced.  

23 October 2014

In this article, part of National Geographic’s’ The Future of Food series, Tim Folger talks about the potential of biotechnology in the next 'green revolution', and its implications for subsistence farmers worldwide. While acknowledging the anxieties against genetically modified crops, he argues that their value in combating common plant diseases is significant for preventing large-scale agricultural losses.

9 April 2014

Two reports by the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation on malnutrition and on food waste. 

6 February 2014

A growing imbalance between phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizer use in Africa could lead to crop yield reductions of nearly 30% by 2050, according to a new study from researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).