Food Waste in Kenya - Uncovering Food Waste in the Horticultural Export Supply Chain

Think Eat Save welcomes this landmark report, the first of its kind to look at the impact of European retail practices on food waste and farmer livelihoods in the developing world.

Horticultural exports make up 23 per cent of Kenya's GDP, employing 4.5 million people directly. The study finds that retailer practices, especially cosmetic standards for produce and order cancellations, are resulting in 45% of produce in Kenyan horticultural supply chains being rejected before shipment.

Export supply

Example of cosmetic standards leading to discard of baby corn

The findings point to the need for shared responsibility for losses across the supply chain. Examples of whole crop purchasing and vertically integrated supply chains show significantly lower levels of waste, demonstrating the potential for waste reduction when the right incentives are in place.

Concrete recommendations of the study include:

  • Changes in retailer buying practices
    • Relaxation of cosmetic specifications
    • ·
    • Improving forecasting accuracy and spreading the risks of demand fluctuations
  • Legislative tools
    In particular, the establishment of robust and effective authorities to adjudicate supermarket behavior toward their suppliers. Efforts should be made to ensure that suppliers are aware of the scope of these authorities to support them, and that they have confidence in the confidentiality of this process.
  • Development of local markets for unsold produce grown for export, including
    • Encouraging consumption of healthy, available foods that may not be traditional in the local market
    • Development of the domestic food processing industry, creating value-added food products from produce not sold for export
  • Development of a Kenyan food redistribution network, putting in place the logistics and infrastructure needed for the large volumes of unsold produce intended for export to be systematically connected to those in need.


Read the Report here and the recommendations in full from page 22.

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