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More than one-third of food produced globally is wasted or lost.

The Food Loss Research Program is a partnership between the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and IDRC. The program works with partners in lower-income countries to address food loss through innovative, locally driven solutions.  

The starting line-up of projects under the program includes finding ways to reduce losses along the mango and tomato value chains in Sri Lanka and Pakistan; horticultural produce in the Pacific region; and catfish in Vietnam and Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Food loss affecting vulnerable urban communities in Zambia and Malawi will also be examined. 

Overall, the projects seek to: 

  • examine agricultural value chains within food systems at a provincial or local level in two or more countries in which ACIAR and/or IDRC work 

  • conduct foresight exercises up to 2050, stipulating how value chains are likely to change given the trends and considering labour, technology, mechanization, climate change, urban and rural density, and nutritional requirements 

  • engage private agri-businesses along the value chain to document the food loss they are experiencing and explore models of innovation for how food loss can be mitigated in the long term 

  • assess interventions that are currently being used at a local scale across the value chain 

  • assess factors that enable or prevent transferring intervention strategies from one location to another. 

Read more about the Food Loss Research Program and its projects here 

About ACIAR 

IDRC has been collaborating with ACIAR to invest and support international agricultural research for development since 2013. ACIAR is the Australian Government’s specialist agricultural research-for-development agency within the Australian aid program. The purpose of ACIAR is to contribute to reducing poverty and improving the livelihoods of many in the Indo-Pacific region through more productive and sustainable agriculture emerging from collaborative international research. 

About food loss and waste 

Global food production must increase by 60% by 2050 to meet the demands of the world’s growing population. Yet, more than one-third of the food produced today is lost or wasted.  

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defines food loss as “the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by food suppliers in the chain, excluding retailers, food service providers and consumers.”  The FAO defines food waste as “the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by retailers, food service providers and consumers.”