As World Food Day approaches, we look at the impact of crop loss on food security and the data needed to support evidence-based solutions for prioritising crop protection investments.

Kenyan vegetable farmer
Kenya vegetable farmer. Image boezie from Getty Images Signature

The FAO has issued sobering statements about crop loss due to pests. It estimates that pests reduce global crop production by 20% to 40%, and further losses occur between harvest and distribution, as well at the consumer level.

Reducing crop loss is critical for addressing the growing demand for food. It’s also essential for improving access to good nutrition, as calories alone cannot safeguard healthy diets and food security.

We need better data to reduce crop loss

There are questions we need to ask to gather this crucial data. How much of our food supply across the value chain are we losing? Where are we losing it? What are we losing it to? If we can answer these questions, we can take evidence-based action. We can empower people working in plant health to move forward with the right information. Imagine the difference we can make when each step taken is a step in the right direction.

In 2019, CABI started working with partners on the Global Burden of Crop Loss (GBCL). This initiative was modelled on the Global Burden of Disease – a human health project. This venture transformed health policy, investment, and research through the better use of data.

Crop loss caused by fall armyworm
Fall armyworm. Image ossyugioh from Getty Images

GBCL aims to have a similar impact on crop health. It will provide evidence to the global plant health community. In turn, this evidence will generate actionable insights to reduce crop loss with the overall aim being to increase food security.

The initiative brings together scientists and stakeholders, data and ideas. Its methodology will quantify the scale of crop loss. And its evidence base will lead to carefully considered actions to reduce crop loss.

Global Burden of Crop Loss: Evidence-based systems to tackle food security

On 14 October, GBCL will host an event on crop loss and food security. The webinar takes place just before World Food Day on 16 October. CABI is holding this timely discussion as a side event to the FAO Science & Innovation Forum.

The session will bring together a diverse group of scientists and stakeholders. They will explore approaches and evidence for understanding crop loss. Panels will focus on evidence-based solutions to tackle crop loss. Among other things, the event will look at opportunities to address evidence gaps.

At the heart of the discussions is data innovation. The event is an exciting opportunity to learn about existing and emerging ways of modernising crop loss data. If you’re interested in learning more, sign up here. Join the debate on solutions to crop loss and food waste on a global scale.

Click here to register for the webinar: Global Burden of Crop Loss: Evidence-based systems to tackle food security, on 14th October at 4-5.30pm (CEST)

Click here to discover more about the Global Burden of Crop Loss.

Click here to learn more about CABI’s work in crop health

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