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A lack of baseline data on food waste at the primary production level poses a key barrier to implementing a behavioural change strategy to address the issue of food wastage. This is critical in light of SDG 12.3 which aims to halve global food waste across the supply chain.
Research estimates that post-harvest waste accounts for over 44% of all fruit and vegetables produced. In 2022, a study was conducted with 15 South African farmers to find out the perceptions, root causes and challenges – as well as potential opportunities – around food loss and waste in farming.
The biggest motivator for preventing food wastage in primary production is financial viability, yet less than 40% of the farmers measure how much is wasted during the farming process. Farmers in the study considered food waste to be an opportunity, rather than a challenge, thus paving the way for driving behaviour change to reduce food wastage on farms.
This novel report offers many insightful signposts for what could be implemented at scale. These learnings could guide policymakers and institutions in implementing initiatives to reduce food waste on farms and provide support to redistribute surplus food.
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Food loss and waste in farming: Insights from South African farmers