AJARE Award for Best Paper


by PIM

Congratulations to our colleagues Kate Ambler, Alan de Brauw, and Susan Godlonton whose paper "Measuring post-harvest losses at the farm level in Malawi” received the 2018 AARES-Wiley Blackwell Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AJARE) Award for Best Paper. The award was presented at the 63rd Annual AARES Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Alan de Brauw and Kate Ambler. Photo credit: Melissa Cooperman (IFPRI)

About the study

This study analyzed postharvest losses for maize, soya, and groundnuts in Malawi. The authors used a detailed survey module designed to pinpoint where the losses occur, derived from the one used in other work by PIM researchers. They found that losses are quite low relative to some expectations. However, they also found the losses are spread across a much larger proportion of farmers than previously thought. Most previous work uses only one question on total crop loss post-harvest. The novel methodology used in this study allowed them to record and estimate both complete loss and crop damage, which might occur during harvest, transportation, processing, or storage at the farm level.

“Losses in our sample are concentrated in harvest and processing activities for groundnuts and maize; whereas for soya, they are highest during processing within the household,” said Alan de Brauw, the study co-author. “Most interventions have been targeted toward storage improvements, but our results suggest that other parts of the production process within households may need attention as well. We also believe that the use of a detailed survey module is crucial for the development of effective post-harvest loss interventions.”


The AJARE Award is intended to recognize the most outstanding paper published in the journal during the preceding year. The winner is selected by the Prize Committee which is comprised of the AJARE editors.

Kate Ambler is a research fellow and Alan de Brauw is a senior research fellow in the Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Susan Godlonton is an Assistant Professor at Williams College. Alan de Brauw co-leads PIM’s research cluster on Approaches to Value Chain Improvement at Scale in Flagship 3: Inclusive and Efficient Value Chains.

Authors thank the Department of International Development of the United Kingdom for the main financial support behind the data collection and primary intervention, and the CGIAR Research Program on Policy, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) for financial support.

Related links:

Measuring food losses: a new methodology (webinar)

The reality of food losses: A new measurement methodology (blog)