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It is estimated that 1.3 billion tons of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted before it reaches the consumer. This represents 30% or one third of the total food produced. Fruits and vegetables alone contribute 44% or (~572,000,000 tons) of the total losses. There is a call for action to reduce these losses across the world and there are several global initiatives to towards this goal. It is against this background that the special seminar titled ‘Postharvest Technologies for Reduced Postharvest Losses’ was organized. The seminar was held at the University of Nairobi (UON), Faculty of Agriculture Building on 30th June, 2015.
There were two presentations made during the seminar by Prof. Randolph Beaudry and Dr. Jane Ambuko. Prof. Beaudry’s presentation titled ‘Postharvest technologies for reduced food loss and waste’ gave an insightful review of research work on postharvest technologies for fruits and vegetables. He highlighted areas of research that needed new thinking and alternative research approaches that integrate history, physiology and physics. Dr. Ambuko presented a summary of a report by a high level panel of experts (HLPE Report, 8) titled ‘Food Losses and Waste in the Context of Sustainable Food Systems’http://www.un.org/en/zerohunger/pdfs/HLPE_FLW_Report-8_EN.pdf. The presentation was a summary highlighting the i) Scope and Definitions; elaboration of the extent and impacts of FLW ii) Causes and drivers of Food losses and waste iii) Options to reduce Food Losses and waste iv) Enabling the change: a way forward to food losses and waste reduction strategies. Copies of the full report were distributed to the participants with a web link to the full report at http://www.fao.org/cfs/cfs-hlpe/en/
Prof Beaudry is a visiting professor from Michigan State University. He is on a fellow-follow up for Dr. Ambuko under Norman Borlaug Fellowship Program. The seminar was attended by undergraduate and graduate students from the Faculty of Agriculture of UON and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). Also in attendance were students from UON’s Medical School. Academic staff and technical staff from the various departments of the Faculty of Agriculture also attended.