Supply chain management approach to reduce food losses : empirical results of selected food commodities in Ethiopia

Abstract: Food loss is one of the heavy challenges to food security in low income countries. Inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of management in supply chains are considered as the major reasons for postharvest food losses. Therefore, this thesis sought to increase the knowledge base for reducing postharvest food losses using efficient and effective food supply chain management approach. The supply chain management and postharvest losses of four nationally important food commodities (milk, wheat, teff, and warqe) in Ethiopia were analysed. Teff is a cereal, while warqe is a perennial plant from which the food products kocho and bulla are extracted. 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, Probit, and Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) in SPSS, AMOS, and Microsoft Excel software. Value chain analysis, questionnaire-based post-harvest loss estimations, Likert scale-based loss factor evaluations, and SEM have been applied for the analysis. The study reported significant food losses at each stage of the food supply chains. The sum of the reported estimated losses from the total marketed products along the whole chains were 14%, 16%, 39%, and 50% for dairy, teff, wheat, and warqe foods (both kocho and bulla), respectively. Poor handling practices at milk collection points, the threshing process in the teff chain, harvesting problems and bad weather conditions in the wheat chain, and poor packaging, display, and processing facilities in the kocho and bulla chains were the forefront factors causing the losses. For farmers, the Tobit model indicated the distance to the nearest market and level of production were the most important factors triggering post-harvest losses in the teff and wheat chains, respectively. The Probit analysis identified attendance in formal education as most determining for value addition decisions in the teff chain. Using the SEM, it was found that transaction costs, trust, and uncertainty significantly predicted chain actors’ supply chain governance choice (p< 0.001). On the other hand, chain actors’ supply chain governance choice significantly predicted efficiency, flexibility, and level of dairy losses at (p< 0.001) and level of integrations at (p< 0.05) in the dairy chains. The supply chain management approach was found relevant in reducing the food losses and alleviating many other problems along the food chains.

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