Course Details - Lost Harvest and Wasted Food

Feeding the world in 2050?

Estimates indicate that 30-40% of the food produced globally is lost post-harvest or wasted because it is never consumed. Without these losses sufficient food is produced to feed the world population, even when it reaches 9 billion people. Science fiction? Maybe but not completely. In this course we will look at ways to minimise losses, reduce food waste and explore alternative uses. Ultimately this should contribute to increased food security.

Missing food

Large contrasts exist in how we manage the food we have available. While in parts of our societies there is a shortage of food, in the more urban, wealthier communities good food that is beyond the sell-by date is thrown away. For example, grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa could total 20%, an estimated $4 billion (FAO/WB, 2011). UK estimates of food never consumed are 19% (WRAP, 2011). Households, retail such as wet or supermarkets, and food outlets all contribute to this waste. Optimising the farm to fork principle through appropriate storage, chain logistics, and managing stocks, can contribute to food security.

Where does it go wrong and what to do?

Although technologies to prevent post-harvest losses, logistics and minimising food waste exist, they are often not used, for various reasons. A conducive policy environment, public services along with an actively involved private sector and other stakeholders in good collaboration with each other could reduce the amount of ‘missing food’. The re-utilisation of wasted food as feed or organic waste to produce compost or energy is still in its infancy. In this course we will explore the crop supply chain and the way efficiency can be optimised through looking at the 'hotspots' of food loss, requirements for primary production, storage from intermediate technology to cold chains and warehousing, safeguarding food safety and how to optimise the food systems from farm to fork.

Learning through experience

The course will use a mix of lectures, discussions, group work and field trips with the aim to expose you, as far as possible, to all aspects of post-harvest and waste management. Meeting course colleagues from other countries but similar interests leads to exchange of experiences and mutual learning. The programme is flexible to suit participants’ needs and participants’ case studies are the basis of the group work.

Courses are currently online

Our courses are currently online and follow this format:

  • Pre-course assignments for you to get to know WCDI and for us to get to know your work environment and your expectations about the course;
      • Interactive plenary sessions where we share content, review assignments and facilitate exchanging experiences. During those interactive sessions we work with a number of online tools like Google Jamboard, Mural and Mentimeter;
  • Group work either online or offline where you with other participants address a specific question or do an assignment. Results of these assignments are also shared and discussed during online sessions;
      • Individual assignments where you will read literature, watch videos, and do exercises on your own. These assignments are an essential part of the learning and most of them count for getting the certificate. They are meant to introduce or deepen knowledge and make the link between theory and your own situation. These assignments are reviewed either by peers or facilitators.

In some, but not all courses we go on virtual field visits – showing you ‘live’ situations in the field, or with companies or organisations that we collaborate with. We offer coaching trajectories where we support you one-on-one or in small groups to review your individual learning paths in the course and help with any basic questions you may have.

Online platforms: Zoom and TalentLMS

Internet connection is important for the completion of the course. Not sure about the connection in your area? Send training.cdi@wur.nl  an e-mail about your situation.

We use Zoom as a facilitating platform for all our online courses. Our courses take place in general over a 6-8 week period to make the workload and time you spend online manageable.

Our online learning system is TalentLMS. Everything you need — our course programme, chatrooms, assignments, background information are in this system. TalentLMS is easy to operate, can also be accessed by your phone and has an on-and offline functionality. We even organise a technical check-in before the course starts, to test your facilities and get familiar with the tools.

Course planning and certificates

The course workload is approximately 16-20 hours a week (2-2.5 workdays).

The exact data of your course will be available 2-3 weeks before the start of the course. If you’ve successfully completed your course we send you a digital certificate.

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