Evaluation of supply chains and post-harvest losses of selected food commodities in Ethiopia

Abstract: Supply chain management practices and losses in food value chains of three major food commodities in Ethiopia (milk, teff and warqe or enset) were evaluated in this thesis. Teff is a cereal, while warqe is a perennial plant from which the food products kocho and bulla are extracted. Teff, kocho and bulla are staple foods for many Ethiopians. In the three case studies, value chain analysis, questionnaire-based loss estimations and Likert scale-based loss factor evaluation were applied. Qualitative and quantitative primary data were collected using a semi-structured survey questionnaire and key informant interviews. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics, Tobit and Probit models in SPSS and Microsoft Excel software. The study identified major chain actors and losses at each stage of the food supply chains. In the milk chain, estimated losses were 3.35%, 5.46%, 2.45%, 0.95%, 1.23% and 0.88% at producers, cooperatives/union, wholesalers, retailers, processors and catering institutions, respectively. In the teff chain, estimated losses were 8.18%, 1.67%, 2.85% and 3.58% at producers, wholesalers, retailers and catering institutions/consumer stage, respectively, while the corresponding values in the kocho chain were 5.8%, 15.2%, 24% and 5.8%, respectively. In the bulla chain, 1.4%, 3.1%, 12.6%, 28.8% and 4.5% losses were estimated to occur at producers, wholesalers, retailers, processors and catering institutions/consumer stage, respectively. The loss hotspots identified were cooperatives, farmers, retailers and processors for milk, teff, kocho and bulla, respectively. Poor handling at collection points, the threshing process and poor packaging and processing facilities were among the major problems causing losses. Tobit model analysis identified distance to the nearest market as the most important factor for farmers’ post-harvest losses, while Probit analysis identified attendance in formal education as most determining for value addition decisions in the teff chain. Relationships among the chain actors were mostly based on spot transactions, lacking long-term market orientation and adequate mutuality and trust. However, application of supply chain management (SCM) practices could potentially improve the overall supply chains and reduce food losses.

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