Bellagio Statement on Postharvest Management – a Roadmap for Achieving Food Security

Approximately one-third of all food produced in the world (FAO) is lost or wasted. With 815 million people – 1 out of every 9 on the planet – food insecure or undernourished in 2016, a population expected to increase by 2 billion by 2050, rapid resource depletion and a changing climate, postharvest loss reduction needs to be at the center of strategies for sustainable development. Effective postharvest management is paramount to achieving the SDGs.

Twenty-two practitioners, representing governments research, academia, the private sector, NGOs and donors, gathered at the Bellagio Center between September 11 and 14, 2017 to share their experiences and their vision for improved postharvest management (PHM). Helvetas facilitated the workshop, which focused on Sub Saharan Africa, a region facing the greatest food security and postharvest management challenges worldwide.

Watch one-minute statements by the participants

The main outcome of the workshop is the Bellagio Statement on postharvest management - a collective commitment to collaborate and scale-up effective actions.

Calls for action – put into action

Postharvest losses can be significantly reduced with reasonable investments. Several technically proven and affordable options are available for large scale dissemination that can be promoted through appropriate approaches and business models that aim at systemic changes in postharvest market systems, their large scale adoption and sustainability.
To harness the opportunities, workshop participants identified the following four key constraints that need to be addressed. The Statement articulates each area in detail.

1. Awareness raising and communications

The lack of education and awareness at both producer and consumer levels, teamed with inadequate communication on the importance of postharvest and food loss reduction, has led to a failure to integrate the topic into relevant policies and strategies. This has in turn resulted in inadequate investment in solutions that reduce food and postharvest losses.

2. Private sector engagement – including access to finance

The size and costs necessary to address the problem and the scope of needed investments are largely insufficient or unknown for PHM practices, technologies and services. This hinders the engagement of private sector actors. In addition, appropriate financial products and services tailored for boosting investments in PHM are largely absent.


Amatheon Agri, a Bellagio participant, has incorporated PICS bags and training as a regular feature into its Outgrower Programme in Zambia. The bags are stocked through the companies rural depots. Amathen Agri is scaling its network to 16,000 farmers.

3. Coherence and coordination

There is an urgent need for improved coordination and effectiveness. Many companies, organizations and donor-assisted PHM projects are still acting in isolation instead of harnessing their comparative advantages and fostering synergies between initiatives. There is insufficient sharing and learning. 

4. Policy dialogue and action

Government policies do not sufficiently address PHM. To reach greater engagement of policy makers, there is an urgent need to create more awareness among them about the scope of the challenge, and to establish and institutionalize multi-stakeholder partnerships to implement PHM strategies.
We would like to thank The Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center for opening its doors and thereby creating a unique environment that encouraged fresh thinking on how to accelerate action on postharvest management.

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