One of many prominent features of SOFA 2019 lies in the identification of “critical loss points” across the food supply chain which look into the location, extent, and commodity groups of food loss and waste. For example, based on the percentage of food loss from post-harvest to distribution in 2016, Central and Southern Asia has the highest point (21%) followed by northern America and Europe (16%). In term of commodity group, roots, tubers and oil-bearing crops are at the peak, accumulating 25%. Overall, the levels of global on farm-loss are higher for fruits and vegetables than for cereals and pulses at all stages in the food supply chain, with the exception of on-farm losses and those during transportation in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.
The report argues that the causes of food loss and waste differ widely along the food supply chain, with important causes of on-farm losses being inadequate harvesting time, climatic conditions, practices applied at harvest and handling, and challenges in marketing produce. Moreover, significant losses are caused by inadequate storage conditions as well as decisions made at earlier stages of the supply chain, which predispose products to a shorter shelf life.