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The diversity of postharvest losses in cassava value chains in selected developing countries
The extent of physical and economic postharvest losses at different stages of cassava value chains has been estimated in four countries that differ considerably in the way cassava is cultivated, processed and consumed and in the relationships and linkages among the value chain actors. Ghana incurs by far the highest losses because a high proportion of roots reach the consumers in the fresh form. Most losses occur at the last stage of the value chain. In Nigeria and Vietnam processors incur most of the losses while in Thailand most losses occur during harvesting. Poorer countries incur higher losses despite their capacity to absorb sub-standard products (therefore transforming part of the physical losses into economic losses) and less strict buyer standards. In monetary terms the impact of losses is particularly severe in Ghana and estimated at about half a billion US dollar per annum while in the other countries it is at the most about USD 50 million. This comparison shows that there are no “one-size-fits-all" solutions for addressing postharvest losses but rather these must be tailor-made to the specific characteristics of the different value chains.