According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Vietnam’s post harvesting losses accounted for 10% of rice production. This is largely more than some of its neighbouring countries such as Thailand for example. Considering that food losses represent unnecessary carbon emissions, reducing post harvest losses represents an opportunity to fight climate change. The topic has become a main concern for the Ressource Efficiency and Cleaner Production Program (RECP), a program funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and conducted by the UN agency for Industrial Development (UNIDO). Understanding better the gaps and the potentials of reducing post-harvest losses at large scale in Vietnam was the subject of Anne and Emily’s last field mission in Vietnam.
The causes of post-harvest losses are diverse and vary according to rice varieties, cultivation methods, harvesting technology, logistics means and processing scale. A characterisation of the different rice culture models would help to adapt the solutions and the required capacity building. Here are some of the main causes of rice post harvest losses:
- Too early or delayed harvesting due to the unavailability of harvesting technologies or lack of drying capacity downstream ;
- Inefficient drying methodology or technologies;
- Bad storage involving moulding and pest infections;
- Mishandling and spillage during processing;
Picture: Post-harvest losses related to mishandling and spillage during the processing – photo by Emily Vuylsteke (Sofies)
Many researches have been conducted on the topic, for instance by IRRI (the International Rice Research Institute) or the SIEAP (applied research institute on post-harvest losses). Nevertheless, the transfer of knowledge and technologies on the field is not yet mainstreamed. Together with Loc Troi (a major supplier company in the Vietnamese rice value chain), Olam Rice (one of the largest rice buyer in Vietnam), IRRI and SIEAP, we’ve identified potential for collaboration in order to bridge the gaps and transfer knowledge and technologies where it’s the most needed.
Article by Emily Vuylsteke
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