Monday, November 28, 2022

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Australia supports Sri Lanka to identify root causes of food losses in the country

Efforts are underway to identify the root causes of food losses in Sri Lanka, with the support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIRA), so that the local authorities are able to address the issue and create a new economic value chain.

Joining hands to help design and demonstrate affordable technologies and organisational options to mitigate these losses are also the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and the Agricultural Sector of the National Planning Department.

The key partners of the project also include the University of Peradeniya, University of Wayamba and Open University of Sri Lanka. A similar effort will also take place for Pakistan under the project.

The stakeholders of the project pointed out that the ground observations and investigations point to a lack of quality and food safety awareness across the fresh fruit and vegetable value chains.

The poor knowledge in this regard hinders the achievement of inclusive growth, food security and national goals, they pointed out.

The project, over the next three years, aims to make practice change attractive across primary production to processing and retail stages by demonstrating opportunities to reduce costs, increase market value and improve business competitiveness.

ACIRA Canberra Programme Manager Agribusiness Howard Hall shared that while progress toward modern food systems in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are improving, the gap between the desired change and current practices remains large.

Bridging the gap requires working more closely with chain partners, prioritizing ways to remove barriers and making practice change worthwhile.

“Extending such an approach can help farmers gain more stable incomes, adapt to change, including that of climate, increase investment in modern value chains and improve food quality and diversity for consumers.

The ensuring reduction in waste and food loss will improve the environment and decrease the cost for stakeholders,” Hall told the project inception workshop held yesterday.

The agri project that will be rolled out will specifically focus on the tomato and mango value chain to identify key value chain practices that contribute to food loss and value depletion.

It will also explore the emerging trends and contextual factors in the operating environment of these chains, including climate change and COVID-19 implications.

The main accomplishment of the project will be its hands-on approach to improved business practices and recommendations that will lead to the continued adoption of improved business strategies and commercial arrangements to achieve food loss abatement.

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