Spurring a Global Network to Tackle Post Harvest Loss of Nutritious Foods

Serving as the Knowledge Management Partner for GAIN’s Postharvest Loss Alliance for Nutrition (PLAN)

How might we foster knowledge exchange and problem-solving between value chain actors?

Challenge

Post-harvest food loss (PHL) reduces the availability of nutritious foods all over the world. Estimates suggest that in low-income countries as much as 30-60% of food is lost in the journey from farm to market.  A complex challenge, tackling post-harvest food loss demands improvements at the intersection of multiple sectors including agriculture, transportation, energy, environment, policy, trade, and public health. Yet, actors in these sectors working toward the same goals are often disconnected in their efforts, even within the same country.  This siloing leads to redundancy and ineffective solutions and limits the amplifying effects that come from sharing knowledge and resources.  Solutions to local challenges often exist; we just need to find and connect people with challenges to those who have the resources and knowledge to help solve them.

Solution

In 2016, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) convened a global consortium of public and private actors working to address post-harvest loss of nutritious food.  This coalition, called the Postharvest Loss Alliance for Nutrition (PLAN), aims to coordinate action within and across value chains in low-income countries to more effectively reduce PHL and increase the availability and affordability of nutritious foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, pulses, and lean animal proteins.  Recognizing that knowledge exchange and collaboration are vital to the success of PLAN, GAIN invited GKI to serve as the Knowledge Management Partner for the global PLAN network.  As the Knowledge Management Partner, GKI works closely with GAIN and PLAN members to organize activities that foster relationship-building, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration across the network.

In 2017, GKI helped roll out PLAN by building its knowledge management strategy and online  platform, which together serve as the foundations for knowledge-sharing activities. Over the course of the year, GKI also lead more targeted knowledge-sharing activities for PLAN members in PLAN’s first implementation country: Nigeria. Based on specific queries, GKI facilitated learning webinars and compiled learning briefs that draw on the expertise of PLAN’s global members and external experts from leading agricultural organizations such as the United States Department of Agriculture, the Postharvest Education Foundation, the Global Cold Chain Alliance, and the Standards Organization of Nigeria.

In 2018, GKI took a more global approach to PLAN knowledge management and network strengthening activities. GKI has also mobilized a working group of influential stakeholders based near Washington, DC to identify and champion innovative policy instruments that remove barriers for supply chain businesses seeking to reduce post-harvest loss (PHL) of nutritious foods. The working group’s effort will culminate in guidance to policymakers, that will be shared publicly at the end of 2018.  Additionally, to share PLAN’s values and approach with a wider audience, GKI is coordinating a series of podcasts that invite global experts to discuss specific issues pertinent to PHL.

Results / Outcomes

  • Articulated a Knowledge Management Strategy for PLAN, building from a comprehensive analysis of key stakeholder interviews regarding members’ knowledge needs, collaboration goals, and engagement preferences
  • Officially launched, in partnership with GAIN, the PLAN Network in May 2017 through in-person and online launch events co-created by GKI
  • Designed, launched, and manage the PLAN network platform, which continues daily to expand, gain traction, and provide useful information to members
  • Facilitated Learning Calls and authored Learning Briefs on topics of importance to PLAN members such as food safety best practices, accessing equity financing in Nigeria, and constructing effective business models for proximate processing
  • Spearheaded a promotional effort through podcasts to share PLAN’s approach to reducing PHL in supply chains of nutritious foods. The first episode can be found here. It features GAIN’s Director of Food Value Chains, Bonnie McClafferty, and Kimberly Flowers, Director of the Humanitarian Agenda and Global Food Security Project at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).
  • Designed, established, and facilitated a Policy Working Group to develop policy guidance on reducing PHL of nutritious foods. The group first met in June 2018 and will meet again in September 2018 before co-creating a public-facing policy resource.
Photo Credit: Adebayo O., International Institute of Tropical Agriculture