Postharvest Management in Sub-Saharan Africa – FAO/IFAD/WFP

Project completed

Food losses in Sub-Saharan Africa account for almost one third of the production and occur mostly at postharvest handling and at processing level. The goal of this project is to reduce postharvest losses for improved food security of smallholder farmers. The project will be jointly implemented by FAO, IFAD and WFP focusing on a global Community of Practice to enhance knowledge sharing and e-learning, and on support to policy development in three target countries (Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burkina Faso).

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Plant protection & pest control
Agricultural policy
Agricultural services & market
01.06.2017 - 30.09.2020
CHF  1’873’500

For most countries in Africa, in particular for low income food deficit countries, losses of grains and other food crops after harvest remain high and a significant cause of food insecurity. An  FAO study estimated in 2011 the losses between 120 – 170 kg per capita and year, posing a heavy burden to many rural households. Reducing postharvest losses does not only reduce food insecurity but makes food production for human consumption economically and ecologically more efficient. Reducing postharvest losses will be inevitable to overcome food insecurity in African countries.


Improved food security and income generation opportunities through reduction of food losses in supported food grains and pulses value chains.

Target groups

The primary target group (direct clients) are: (i) national, regional and local governments and policy makers; (ii) Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), (iii) national and international Research and Development /and training institutions, including Universities, (iv) private sector actors, (v) and other development partners which are all considered as “change agents” in terms of improved PHM.

The secondary target group (indirect clients, except for the smallholders benefiting from test pilots) are: (i) smallholder farming households and rural communities in food deficit areas of the three pilot countries; (ii) and Bi- and Multi-lateral Partners, including Regional Institutions/ Organisations.

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: Knowledge of the magnitude and sources of food losses and the methodology for food loss analyses expanded and good practice options for reducing post-harvest losses compiled and disseminated through a reinforced and fully functioning Community of Practice (CoP) website. 

Outcome 2: Improved post-harvest management within the targeted value chains are benefitting smallholder farmers in countries through the dissemination of results of food loss analyses  and the experience of pilot food loss interventions 

Outcome 3: Policy and regulatory frameworks (policy, standards) on reducing food losses in food supply chains are developed and validated at national and regional levels.


Expected results:  

  • The CoP is fully equipped with an array of information, maps, features, and with a wide coverage (2000 people/month); a convincing long-term strategy is established (with FAO web services). Ample dissemination through e-learning, forum discussions, events, etc.
  • Finalised food loss assessments (levels and causes of food losses allowing more targeted interventions) published, loss analysis methodology identified and disseminated through the CoP
  • Pilot test from phase I analyzed and good practices disseminated
  • Support to governments (at least 3), upon their request in the elaboration of postharvest management

Results from previous phases:  

  • Establishment of a Community of Practice (CoP) website on food loss reduction, facilitating linkages and sharing information among stakeholders and related networks reaching up to 1500 people a month. E-learning module available.
  • Comprehensive detailed food loss assessments of five grain crops over two to three seasons in three target countries (Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda) conducted. Many different solutions and methods tested, roughly 25’000 people reached
  • Initiating work on policies and frameworks related to addressing post-harvest losses and preparing policy briefs to embed post-harvest improvement within national agricultural policy frameworks.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • World Food Programme

Coordination with other projects and actors
  • The “Postharvest management in Sub-Saharan Africa” project implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Inter-cooperation/FANRPAN/AFAAS /AGRIDEA (with pilot activities in Benin and Mozambique);
  • The FAO project entitled “Reducing Food Losses through Improved Post Harvest Management in Ethiopia”;
    the FAO organization-wide initiative on food loss ;
  • Other SDC strategic partners: African Union (Malabo Declaration)
  • The Sub-group on PHM of SDC’s A+FS network.
  • Other postharvest projects of governments or non-SDC partners Implementers of other SDC financed PHM projects: CIMMYT (with activities in Malawi, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe); initiatives from other donors (EU, DFID, USAID etc) and the private sector
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    1’873’500 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’860’100
Project phases

Phase 2 01.06.2017 - 30.09.2020   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.09.2012 - 31.05.2017   (Completed)