Indonesian Postharvest Loss Alliance for Nutrition

Indonesia faces food losses of up to 50%. Faced with reduced local availability and affordability of nutritious food and malnutrition in particular in more vulnerable population groups a consortium of partners is taking steps to tackle this problem.

Reducing postharvest food losses is an important contribution to improving local availability and affordability of nutritious food crops in Indonesia. A consortium of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, the Postharvest Network, AgriProFocus, BoPInc and GAIN started a feasibility study to understand food losses in mango, shallots and tongkol fish supply chains in Indonesia.

Shallot, tongkol and mango

Shallot is a key crop in the Indonesian agricultural sector. The crop has an impact on national inflation and production and thus, storage and import of shallot is closely monitored by the Indonesian government. Mango is a fruit that is largely grown and consumed in Indonesia and thus plays an important role both economically as well as from a dietary point of view.

The total production of Tongkol in Indonesia amounts to about 8.5% of the total production of captured fisheries. Tongkol has high nutrient values is one of the main products of Indonesian fisheries that enter the local market being consumed by all income classes and thus having a high impact on nutrient intake of vulnerable population groups.

Main goals of this study are to map current postharvest losses, their main causes and the potential for reduction in the selected value chains. Also understanding the local dynamics and engage local actors to cooperate in order to set up implementation programs is a key aspect of the work.


Post-harvest losses in the shallot value chain are up to 40% which reduces the income of farmers and the availability of nutritious food in the regions. Most of these losses appear to occur during storage. Hence, there is a need for improved low-tech on-farm storage solutions in combination with support on harvest, drying and treatment before shallots are stored as these steps determine the quality of the shallots that go into storage.

For mango the main reasons for losses were identified: Harvest of all, ripe and unripe, fruit and harvest during hot parts of the day; fruit flies; mechanical damage during harvest due to unfit tools as well as during handling and transport; packaging unfit for produce. Thus, technical equipment are only part of the solution. The main challenges are organizational, the collector system and the small scale of farming without cooperative structure, as well as educational on good practices for preventing fruit flies, proper handling and packaging.

For tongkol a large portion of fish deteriorates in quality leading to economic loss and serious food safety hazards due to lack of sufficient cooling and freezing capacity on ships, in the fishing ports, during transportation and in auction halls. Cooling seems to be the one big issue that affects the quality and thus loss of fish. Various low-tech solutions for this exist, organizing effective implementation and local up-take of these will have a significant impact on the current situation.