GKI’s Social Innovation Lab on Post Harvest Food Loss in Africa

Designing Systems-Based Approaches to Reduce Food Loss

How might we identify high-impact opportunities to reduce post harvest loss in Africa?

Problem

Food loss—the loss of edible food at the production, post harvest, processing, and distribution stages of food value chains—represents a significant challenge for developing countries.  According to estimates, approximately 30% of food is lost or wasted globally. Particularly burdensome to smallholder farmers in Africa, food loss reduces incomes by as much as 15%.  Single technologies or financing schemes often prove insufficient to address such a multifaceted challenge; many actors across -agricultural value chains contribute to widespread food loss. Integrated solutions that tackle multiple causes of the problem – improved storage, access to markets and financing, farmer knowledge – are urgently needed.

Solution

Understanding the pressing nature of this challenge, The Rockefeller Foundation invited GKI to serve as one of its inaugural Social Innovation Labs.  GKI designed a global effort to source high-potential innovations for reducing food loss in Africa.  In this role, we convened over 240 experts across 4 continents, sourced over 590 distinct opportunities to reduce food loss, and identified more than 200 innovations already in use.  But we didn’t stop there.  Individual solutions, such as creative on-farm storage options, only go so far.  Integrated solutions that bring together technology, financing, policy, and other innovations create systems change.  Knowing this, we tested different integrated innovation solution sets with experts, with the goal of determining what combinations are poised to achieve greatest impact.

Results / Outcomes

  • Identified 590 opportunities to reduce food loss
  • Sourced over 200 innovations already in use
  • Engaged 240 global experts spanning geographies, disciplines, and sectors
  • Hosted 8 creative design sessions in 7 countries
  • Tested over a dozen integrated innovation solution sets
  • Informed The Rockefeller Foundation’s decision to invest $130 million aimed at taking forward these innovative solutions through their new, 7-year program called “Yieldwise”