Post-Harvest Loss in Sub-Saharan Africa -- What Do Farmers Say?

34 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

Date Written: April 1, 2014


The 2007-2008 global food crisis has renewed interest in post-harvest loss, but estimates remain scarce, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper uses self-reported measures from nationally representative household surveys in Malawi, Uganda, and Tanzania. Overall, on-farm post-harvest loss adds to 1.4-5.9 percent of the national maize harvest, substantially lower than the Food and Agriculture Organization's post-harvest handling and storage loss estimate for cereals, which is 8 percent. Post-harvest loss is concentrated among less than a fifth of households. It increases with humidity and temperature and declines with better market access, post-primary education, higher seasonal price differences, and possibly improved storage practices. Wider use of nationally representative surveys in studying post-harvest loss is called for.

Keywords: Markets and Market Access, Crops and Crop Management Systems, Food & Beverage Industry, Technology Industry, Environmental Economics & Policies

Suggested Citation

Kaminski, Jonathan and Christiaensen, Luc, Post-Harvest Loss in Sub-Saharan Africa -- What Do Farmers Say? (April 1, 2014). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6831. Available at SSRN:

Luc Christiaensen

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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