The role of small-scale farmers in developing countries in achieving global food security and food loss prevention

Especially in recent years, one of the most evident paradoxes of the current food system — food losses and waste (FLW) — has become so visible and widespread to repurpose governmental policies and reshape markets and consumer trends.

The recent recognition of the International Day on Awareness of Food Loss and Waste by the United Nations represents one of the recent confirmations of this international consciousness, reiterated by Sustainable Development Goals, international and national declarations, and action plans across the globe.

However, beyond the widespread acknowledgment that FLW is a plague that needs to be eliminated as soon as possible, many misconceptions and uncertainties still impede these challenges from being completely solved:

  • Food loss and waste are triggered by the same dysfunctions
  • Counteracting food loss from larger farms in developed countries is to be prioritized because global food security depends on them.
  • Developing countries totally depend on developed countries to eliminate food losses.

This article will therefore consider these false myths one by one, deep-diving into the underlying reasons for food loss, especially in developing countries. This would not have been possible without the expertise and competence of Temitope Wealth-Ekanem, co-author of this article and value chain manager within Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), an agrifood systems development organization. Given her role and position, the voices of smallholder farmers in African communities can be raised within this work, from the main challenges they face in the fields to the local solutions.

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