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Caribbean supply chain and livelihood implications

CIFSRF CARICOM Food Security Project September 2013

Socioeconomics & Market Access. No. 3

Improving Post-Harvest Handling Efficiency along Caribbean Supply Chain and Livelihood Applications Food security is an enormously complex issue that cannot be simply reduced to a single, basic poverty issue. A fundamental problem that underlies food security in CARICOM countries is the inefficient post-harvest handling of fresh fruits and vegetables. This results in a high level of crop losses and major issues of food quality. Post-harvest losses of fresh horticultural crops are of considerable interest due to their extremely high values, reaching 5 to 25% in developed countries and 20 to 50% in developing countries. Those losses are a major constraint to crop productivity and food availability for local households. The main causes of postharvest losses of fresh produce in both St. Kitts and Guyana are: inappropriate handling and exposure to undesirable environmental conditions.

String beans packed and ready for the market

Collecting information on post-harvest handling. This factsheet is a product of the CIFSRF CARICOM Food Security Project. The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) is a program of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).


Enhancing post-harvest quality management along all segments of the value chain (as the agricultural product moves from the farm to the consumer) will definitely lead to better livelihoods for local households. Minimizing post-

harvest losses will positively affect livelihood by alleviating food insecurity, generating income and enhancing human health.

ENHANCING HUMAN HEALTH • • • •

GENERATING INCOME • higher food quality and quantity • investment in human knowledge • advanced position to access markets

increased food diversification application of good agricultural practices improved food safety promotion of healthy diet

LIVELIHOOD IMPLICATIONS ALLEVIATING FOOD SECURITY • increased food availability (quantity) • better food utilization (nutrition)

Major livelihood implications from reducing post-harvest losses along the supply chain

Harvesting tomatoes

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CIFSRF CARICOM Food Security Project


Fact Sheet - Post Harvest Handling Efficiency along Caribbean Supply Chain and Livelihood