Postharvest Technology And Losses

Horticultural Science

Area/s of Food Security (Access, Availability, Utilization) that project/s fall under:

Food Availability

How does the Project fit in with the FSI Vision?

The incidence of post-harvest losses along the food chain reduces the quantity and quality of food available for human consumption as well as the overall economic well-being of farmers and communities through reduced in income. The identification of the sources and quantification of the amount of losses is likely to assist in the development and implementation of policy and technological measures to improve food and nutritional security at national, community and household levels.

Goal/s of your Projects

To develop a resource map of food losses in South Africa and to recommend appropriate corrective measures to reduce the losses occurring at various links in the supply chain (on-farm, wholesale, retail and households).

Objectives of the Project/s

  • Quantify the amounts of fruit and vegetables lost (quantity loss/wastage)
  • Quantify the amounts of fruit and vegetables downgraded (quality/value loss)
  • Quantity the nutritional losses associated with quantity and quality losses along the food supply chain

What will the Outcomes of the Project be in terms of:-

Meeting the vision of the FSI

Greater awareness on the problem of post-harvest food losses and its impacts of food security

The different areas of Food Security (Access, Availability, Utilization)

Information on the level of food losses in the supply chain, which will add knowledge to the ‘availability’ aspect of food security.


2 MSc theses, 2 scientific journal papers


Guidelines on strategies to reduce post-harvest food losses on the farm, during handling, processing, preparation and utilization.

Community Impacts

Greater awareness on the problem of post-harvest food losses and its impacts of food security. Increased availability of food by reducing losses at various levels; for the community this will be noticed especially at the household level.

Input to the Food Security rhetoric

Quantitative data on the potential role of post-harvest research, innovation and interventions on food availability

What is the duration of the study?

How many students and researchers are involved?

2 years duration; 2 MSc students and 1 postdoctoral fellow

What funding opportunities exist for your project?

R400, 000.00 already allocated for phase one.  To complete this project, there are opportunities for funding agencies that are involved in food security, sustainable agriculture and integrated rural development to support the implementation of next phase (phase two).

Contact details

Prof Umezuruike Linus Opara
South African Chair in Postharvest Technology
Faculty of AgriSciences
University of Stellenbosch

Future areas of research

Phase 2 – Quantifying post-harvest food losses in other sectors (meat, dairy, grains, etc)
Modelling and predicting post-harvest cold chain performance to reduce losses and maintain quality of fresh produce

Comments are closed.

Top ↑