Assessing the causes and effects of food loss and food waste. A comparative analysis of Ghana and Sweden
Abstract: About a third (1.3 billion tons per year) of global food production is lost or wasted from the initial stages of farm production down to final household consumption and this global challenge has undesirable environmental, economic, and social effects. Notwithstanding the fact that the challenge of food loss and waste has received global attention, not many comparative studies have been conducted to leverage the different experiences of countries, especially between developed and developing ones, where food loss occurs at different stages of the food supply chain. My study investigates the causes of food loss and waste in Ghana and Sweden and ascertains stages of the food supply chain at which food is greatly wasted and lost. The study explores the effects of food loss and waste in relation to production and consumption in both countries and assesses how the problem of food loss and waste is addressed in a sustainable way by both countries. The analysis is based on semi-structured interviews conducted with 18 persons in both Ghana and Sweden including farmers, operators of restaurants, schools, food processing companies, and food agencies in both countries. I also relied on official government reports and relevant academic literature, drawing from diverse scholarly perspectives on the challenge of food loss and waste. Primarily, the DPSIR (Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response) analytical framework guided my data collection and analysis. The study finds contrary to the existing scholarly narrative, that food loss at the pre-consumer and food waste at the consumer stages of the food supply chain are prevalent in both Ghana and Sweden. Overall, the study points to a rethink of the stereotypical differences between “developed” and “developing” stereotypes relative to the drivers, pressures, and responses to food loss and waste to allow for across contexts learning.
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