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Food loss and waste not only have global socioeconomic and environmental consequences, they also have negative impacts on farmers’ and traders’ incomes and the volume of food reaching consumers. An estimated one-third of all food produced, or about 1.3 billion tons, is wasted annually for reasons including poor harvest and postharvest handling practices and the lack of appropriate transportation, storage, cooling, processing, and marketing infrastructure.
In an effort to reduce postharvest losses and maintain the quality and safety of agrifood products in member countries, the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) is organizing a five-day workshop on Cold Chain and Logistics Management for Agrifood Products in Nadi, Fiji, 11–15 December 2017. The workshop is organized in association with the Fijian Ministry of Agriculture and National Training & Productivity Centre, Fiji National University, and cosponsored by the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP).
In his inaugural address, Chief Guest and Assistant Minister for Agriculture Viam Pillay highlighted the importance of cold chains in food security and reducing food losses, particularly for tropical countries. He spoke on recent initiatives by his ministry to deal with the challenges involved. Assistant Minister Pillay also thanked the APO for selecting Fiji as the workshop venue, since cold chains and food supply chains were very important for the country’s overall economic growth.
The opening session was attended by Permanent Secretary Jitendra Singh of the Ministry of Agriculture, Director General Tevita G. Boseiwaga Taginivalu of CIRDAP, and Program Officer Dr. Shaikh Tanveer Hossain of the Agriculture Department, APO Secretariat. Cost-effective, innovative cold chain technologies, models, and logistics for agrifood products will be examined in detail, along with methods to promote their adoption and scaling up in APO member countries.
Twenty-two participants from 15 member countries and observers are attending the workshop conducted by three APO-assigned international experts: Department of Consumer Affairs Secretary Avinash K. Srivastava, Government of India; Buy Pure New Zealand Managing Director and Organics Aotearoa CEO Brendan Hoare; and Asia Cold Chain Centre Chief Executive and Principal Consultant Dr. Rodney Wee of Singapore.
The workshop will examine in detail how various APO members plus New Zealand and the USA manage cold chain and logistic services to improve the handling of agrifood products for the benefit of producers and consumers. The experts will offer insights on strategies to address the specific needs of developing countries in general and small farmers in Asia in particular as well as the potential contributions public–private partnerships can make to improving the effectiveness of cold chain and logistic systems.