Postharvest Network present at No More Food to Waste conference

The Netherlands, together with the FAO, organized the international conference No More Food to Waste – Global action to stop food waste and food losses, held from June 16 till June 19, 2015 in the World Forum convention center in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The No More Food to Waste Conference aimed to bring together a wide range of relevant stakeholders in the food system, including governments, international organizations, private sector, non-governmental organizations, philanthropic foundations, local community producers, and the scientific community to share experiences and demonstrate combined action in partnerships in the food chain.

The Postharvest Network was present at the conference together with the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP). They had an information booth and prepared a side event: What we need to know: how to enhance the agrofood supply chain efficiency for food & nutrition security.

Recently within the F&BKP research has been conducted on relations between the reduction of post-harvest losses and food security. The main conclusion of this study is that reducing the wastage issue cannot be solved in a single stroke. Interventions, although important, often do not make a significant contribution on their own, but can do so when embedded in a broader and integrated value chain or food system approach with an eye on context specific circumstances. This valuable insight has practical implications for solutions to reduce losses and improve food security; When food losses occur in a supply chain, there is not one single problem owner to address. A typical supply chain involves several actors without one actor being responsible for the total supply chain. So how to change the supply chain in order to reduce losses and improve food security? What makes one of the involved actors move? What kind of instruments are needed?

A discussion with the audience focused on these questions and on identifying the kind of interventions that might work when improving a food supply chain. Also the need to develop an international Community of Practice on (knowledge for) interventions for value chain improvement was discussed.

Download the flyer of the side event.

Calls for Proposal

Recently three interesting calls for proposals have been announced: by the World Bank, TradeMark East Africa and TopSector Agri&Food.

World Bank: MultiDonor Trust Fund for Sustainable Logistics

The MultiDonor Trust Fund for Sustainable Logistics (MDTF-SL) is launching a call for proposals to fund studies in three sustainable logistics thematic areas:

  •         Green supply chains,
  •         Agrologistics, and
  •         Urban logistics and portcity development.

Deadline for proposals: 10th of April 2015

The following types of activities are eligible for financing through the MDTF-SL:

  •     Capacity building, technical assistance and training;
  •     Policy analysis, research and diagnostics;
  •     Knowledge management and dissemination;
  •     Workshops and conferences;
  •     Data collection and development of analytical tools;
  •     Information (electronic) Systems for network building and knowledge sharing.

No more than two projects per country will be approved for support per year. Projects may receive maximum support of up to US$300,000 to be funded for up to one year, though exceptional cases for longer timeframes may be considered with justification.

Please visit the World Bank website for more information.

TradeMark East Africa: Logistics Innovation for Trade

TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), an organisation supporting the growth of trade in the East African region, announced the European launch of its Logistics Innovation for Trade (LIFT) fund for transport and logistics companies interested in doing business in the East African Community (Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania).

The LIFT challenge fund managed by TMEA with funding support from the UKs Department for International Development provides grants ranging from US$200,000 to US$750,000 to companies that are operating (or interested in operating) in the East African Community (EAC) to develop and test new ideas that could reduce the cost and time of transport and logistics in the region. The LIFT fund is open to companies from all over the world. Applications are particularly welcomed from logistics and transportation companies in the world.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Lead applicant can either be a local or foreign company /organisation that will operate in the EAC;
  • For commercial projects, lead applicant must be a For-Profit organization. For project promoting reforms, non-profit organisations will also be considered;
  • Project must hold potential to reduce transport and logistics costs;
  • Funding is for the project, not the corporate entity;
  • For business led projects at least 50% of funds for the project should be provided by the applicant. For non-profits 30%;
  • Organization should have proven capacity to implement the project;
  • The project must demonstrate the activities that will be funded by LIFT are new and that the project would not go ahead in this form without LIFT funding.

Deadline for proposals: 31 March 2015.

Please visit the LIFT Fund website for more information.

TopSector Agri&Food: Seed Money projects

On 16 February 2015, the call for Seed Money Projects has been opened by the Dutch TopSector Agri&Food. Seed money projects are projects aiming at starting innovative international partnerships with Dutch SMEs in the agri-food sector. The search for the right partners and the development of a proper business model is central to the project. The aim of the project is to solve a local system problem. A system problem is a problem that can only be solved when Business, Government and Research institutions collaborate. Prerequisite for a seed money project is that a local problem owner (companies and or governments) participates in the project.

Results from earlier calls indicate that Seed Money Projects are a good way to explore international opportunities and where the business model is helpful to find the right network partners. All international public-private partnership projects that have received a positive assessment in 2014 from the TopSector Agri&Food, have started as a Seed Money Project. Budget for eight projects of 50,000 each is available.

More information can be found at (only Dutch). For more information, please contact Willie van den Broek, telephone +31 317 481317.

Launch of Postharvest Network

On December 4, 2014 the Postharvest Network  was launched during a kick-off event in the Hof van Wageningen. The Postharvest Network aims to reduce food losses by implementing practical and proven solutions in the food supply chain of fresh products. It is a network of Dutch specialized companies, knowledge institutes like Wageningen University and the Dutch Ministries of Foreign and Economic Affairs.

The Dutch government has strongly contributed to the launch of the Postharvest Network and challenged it to develop concrete projects to reduce food losses with market partners. The national government contributes actively (also financially) to this process.

During the event, Roald Lapperre, Deputy Director-General of Agrofood at the Ministry of Economic Affairs said: ‘The world population will rise to 9 billion people. More than half of them will live in cities and the rural population will be aging even more. How do we ensure that everyone gets enough food? This is a huge challenge. In addition, up to 40% of the harvest is lost in the food supply chain. Reducing these food losses contributes significantly to the reduction of food shortage’.

The Ministries of Economic Affairs and Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands, together with Wageningen University and Research Centre and the business community in the Netherlands, therefore took the initiative to establish the Postharvest Network.

Marcel Vernooij, a member of the management team of the department of Sustainable Economic Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added: ’Dutch companies and knowledge institutions have very practical knowledge to reduce food losses. By starting the Postharvest Network we want to make this knowledge more accessible’.

Led by Project Manager Dirk ‘t Hooft (former Director of the Holland International Distribution Council), the Postharvest Network is working on its first projects in India, Mexico and Egypt.
‘t Hooft stated: ‘The Postharvest Network focuses on reducing food losses in the agrifood supply chain. Through improved collaboration of parties involved in the whole supply chain, the food losses have already been reduced’.

At the request of SCA, a large Indian logistics company, Dinalog (the Dutch Institute for Logistics) explored the bottlenecks in the supply chain of tomatoes and bananas together with the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research Centre. Liesbeth Staps of Dinalog described: ‘We explored the entire chain from the perspective of local farmers and we involved them in our approach. Such an approach is unique in India and leads to new insights and breakthroughs’. The partners in the Postharvest Network are now, together with their members, investigating how they can help solve India’s problems in this area. Herman de Boon, Chairman of the Committee of Recommendation of the Postharvest Network said: ‘The Network will only fly if there is a sound business case underlying it. Before reaching an acceptable business case, you have to invest time and money. It is great that the government helps us with small funds to develop the targeted business case. We will certainly respond in a positive way to the challenge of the government’.