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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Post-2015 Consensus: Food Security and Nutrition Viewpoint, ACDI VOCA

Viewpoint Paper

Ladd and Block focus on the important issue of children suffering from stunting, which is a growing problem in absolute terms, and the impact improved post-harvest handling can have. Because stunting is a chronic condition and can reflect the long-term impacts of agriculture programs, it can serve as a proxy for measuring their sustainability. ACDI/VOCA considers PHH as a critical part of agriculture, which should be added to IFPRI’s current seven pathways for agriculture to influence nutrition.

Post-harvest activities are an integral part of the food production system. The main aim is to promote best practices for PHH along the entire value chain, focusing on a broad spectrum of operations and stakeholders in marketing systems. The ultimate goal of the system is to decrease losses from the field, increase incomes, and not overburden women’s labor, while delivering safe and high-quality food to consumers.

There are three important outcomes of improved PHH. The first is consumption smoothing through improved preservation and storage. Lack of good-quality food for pregnant women or young children can lead to stunting, so maintaining adequate nutrition at these stages is important. Second, better PHH can increase incomes in two ways, by giving farmers more surplus to sell and by reducing the need for households to buy more food. Third, good storage of staple crops can prevent aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxins slowly affect consumers through cancer, immune suppression, and stunting in children.