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On-site processing and cold storages are key to cutting food waste

According to analysts and industry stakeholders, the government of the Philippines needs to address post-harvest losses in agriculture by encouraging investment in facilities that process produce on-site or as near to the production area as possible, as well as investing in upgrades to the cold chain.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said: “There is a greater need to step up the harnessing of technology in terms of cold storage and processing facilities to at least prevent wastage in agriculture, especially if there is an excess from harvests when weather conditions are much more favorable.” also quoted him as saying: “Processing facilities would also enable much longer shelf life for manufactured agricultural products that could also be sold locally as well as in export markets, by adopting global best practices in food processing technology.”

Ricafort said adding value to surplus vegetables “would result in higher demand and (increased) profit margins as well.” Tons of surplus vegetables from various farms were reportedly dumped during the pandemic as farmers struggled to sell them or were cut off from their markets by quarantines.

Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Economist John Paolo R. Rivera said the ultimate goal of increased processing is to allow “people to have more immediate access to agricultural products at a cheaper price benefitting both farmers and consumers.”

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