• Promote international cooperation of existing post-harvest efforts to recover food that is produced but not consumed.
  • Enhance this cooperation with a volunteer network of experts. We have endorsements from unions of experts representing over 60 countries.
  • Utilize political and cultural experts to assure that food recovery efforts are appropriately implemented in traditional societies.
  • Use this additional food for hunger reduction and economic development.


The Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO) reported that 1.02 billion children, women and men (1/6 of the world's population) go to bed every night with chronic hunger pains.†

World food production is sufficient to supply everyone with over 2,800 calories per day if the food were all available for use and evenly distributed. This food must be stored, processed (where applicable), protected and distributed before it can be consumed. It is widely estimated that 20 - 60% of the world's food production is lost before it can be utilized. Estimates vary and differ with food sources & locations, but these losses are significant, and this proposed program has the potential to recover many million tons of food.

Efforts to reduce hunger are typically based on improving agricultural production. Although essential, produced food must be delivered - taken from farm to consumer through post-harvest action.  There is no formal international cooperation for post-harvest action.

Improving agricultural production offers benefits after the next harvest; post-harvest food recovery is immediate.

Food recovery from this program, added to ongoing agricultural production efforts, will result in both reducing hunger and promoting economic development through value-added food products.



Post-harvest technologies are developed to extend the food chain and reduce losses with the following benefits:

More food is available and hunger is reduced.

Shared technologies allow faster program implementation and reduction of duplicated work.

Economic development results from utilizing recovered food for inputs for value-added food products and small business development. Better fed citizens also have energy for further economic development. An example is presented on the International Collaboration page.

Job creation results from identifying and implementing appropriate post-harvest technologies and from initiating small businesses to utilize recovered food as raw materials.

Health benefits accrue with a population that is better nourished.

Sales of packaging materials, processing and packaging equipment, testing equipment, storage equipment etc. result from recommendations resulting from technology transfer.

New ideas and technologies result from cooperation and discussions of technology.

Goodwill towards America results from a US led program to reduce hunger.


Recover 10 million tons of food within 3 years.

  • Use some of this food to reduce world hunger.
  • With improved calories and nutrition, enhance the energy level and productivity of disadvantaged populations.
  • Use some of this food as inputs for cottage industries to prepare value-added foods and thereby promote economic development.


Our goal is to add 10 million metric tons of food to the global food supply within 3 years, providing sufficient food to feed up to 34 million people for 1 year. Reaching and publicizing this goal will demonstrate how much food is available and ways to recover it.

The following graph illustrates the value of food saved over the projected course of the program..

Year of program 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Food Value $million 0 0 2960 4090 5180 6290 8140 11100 15170 21830

The program was designed to address the anticipated shortfall of the Millennium Development Goal on hunger predicted by FAO in 2005.

The food recovery in year 10 represents less than 1% of worldwide production. With losses ranging between 20 and 60%, this figure is a reasonable target given participation of a sufficient number of countries and food, packaging and transportation professionals around the globe.

The target food recovery is based on ambitious but attainable expectations.
To put the above estimates into perspective, the value of 10 million metric tons, with relative quantities reflecting world production, are expressed (with some rounding off) in the following table.

Value of Pilot Study Food Recovery


$/metric ton(mt)*

% Agricultural production^

Estimated savings (mt)

Estimated value ($US)





$  903 million

Fresh fruits




     870 million





  1,475 million





      58 million

Starchy roots




    390 million





$  3.7  billion 

* Marsh, Hammig & Singer, 2001, J. Int’l Food & Agribusiness Marketing, 12, No. 3, 69.
^ FAO Agricultural Database 2002 (last year available in 2005)


Ghana – United States: Example of using a volunteer network of experts.

A scientist in Ghana expressed concerns about the transportation and ripening of bananas. Bananas remain viable for months in the un-ripened (green) state, and days in the ripened (yellow) state. He asked “How do the developed countries control ripening?”
The answer is that ethylene, which is produced by the banana, triggers the ripening sequence. Ripening can be controlled by scrubbing ethylene during transport and storage, and gassing the bananas with ethylene just prior to transporting them to the supermarket or market for sale. A plant physiologist (one of the volunteer experts) supplied the details to implement the controlled ripening process.

Sri-Lanka – Croatia – United States – Ghana: Example of international collaboration.

Significant crushing of fresh produce was observed in Croatia. The use of collapsible plastic crates to contain the produce, absorb weight of upper layers, and collapse for transport back to the warehouse was documented in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka reduced damage (crushing) from 23 -28% en route to 5%. This study was unknown to people in Croatia, resulting in duplicate work in both countries.
A representative in Ghana utilized the Sri Lanka study to reduce produce damage during transport in his country.

Sri Lanka, India and Sub Saharan Africa: Examples of duplicated efforts.

Variations of a solar powered refrigeration system were developed independently in each of these locations.
A corn processing aide was independently developed in the US, Sri Lanka and FAO in Rome.

South - East Asian Nations: Example of Enterprise Development with value-added food.

Recovered food can be used as inputs for value-added product development, and for the creation of a network of family-based micro-enterprises. This concept was implemented through the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific with a program entitled "Village Level Processing - Empowerment through Enterprise Skill Development". The program included training in food handling and basic food processing in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Banana, for example, has a short usable life after ripening. Slicing banana and frying into banana chips yields a value –added product with a longer shelf life. Preparing and packaging banana chips thus becomes the basis for a family business enterprise.


The Team

Kenneth Marsh, Ph.D., CPP is Executive Director for the Woodstock Institute for Science in Service to Humanity, held the first endowed chair in Packaging Science in the US, and has 39 years of industrial and international experience.  He was a delegate to the World Food Summit:five years later, speaker on global food security at 3 World Food Congresses and has been an international speaker and author.  He served on a subcommittee of the National Academy of Sciences-Institute of Medicine to develop emergency food rations.  With a Ph.D. in food science, and experience in food distribution and international trade, he offers the technical breadth, industrial connections and international experience and contacts to identify country appropriate technologies. 

William Shaw, Ph.D. is the President of Crosscurrents International Institute, which grew from the Charles F. Kettering Foundation’s International Affairs Program and has coordinated international communication for 26 years.  His graduate studies included degradation of food items by rodents in India.  Dr. Shaw has worked and traveled in over 100 countries and has coordinated cultural exchanges through Crosscurrents.  Dr. Shaw will advise and coordinate the cultural and political aspects of this program to assure program implementation.

Janet GH Marsh, Ph.D. has volunteered her time to assist the program with her expertise in social and poverty policy and programs. She holds a M.S. in Public Policy and a Ph.D. in Social Welfare Policy, both from the University of Chicago. Together, she and Dr. Shaw will ensure that stakeholders (the population whose nutrition benefits from an expanded food supply) share in the country projects and are direct beneficiaries of saved food and economic development.


Advisory Board

Dr. Michel Hammig is Professor and former Chair for the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics at Clemson University.  He has worked extensively in developing countries and will emphasize the economic considerations of food recovery as well as infrastructure development that will promote improved food delivery.

Dr. Alastair Hicks joined FAO in 1984 and was Senior Regional Agroindustry and Postharvest Officer for the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (covering 46 countries).  He has reported on over 150 official missions for FAO/UN globally, produced over 200 technical publications and technically backstopped over $20 million worth in projects.  He provides a wealth of postharvest experience with application to hunger reduction and economic development.

Mr. Neil Robson was the Senior Advisor. Export Packaging & Distribution for the International Trade Center of the United Nations and worked with over 100 countries in that capacity.  He understands the importance of international trade towards the economic development that promotes self-sufficiency in the developing world.  He has 40+ years of experience in international trade, and will coordinate the inter-country cooperation that is critical to the proposed program.

Mr. Dennis Tenney has worked for several multinational corporations with experience in more than 50 countries.  He has opened new markets for Utah companies throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia.  He has been elected to the Sandy City Council 6 times and also served on Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s NAFTA Advisory Committee and as an International Trade Executive for the State of Utah.


Global Network

A network of individuals and organizations from over 60 countries interested in reducing world hunger who offer substantial and varied expertise and experience to promote the above program.

Supporting companies & organizations

The following companies & organizations provide financial support and/or scientific inputs to assist WISSH in reaching its goals to promote international cooperation to reduce post-harvest food losses and use recovered food for  hunger reduction and economic development.


Dow Chemical
Sponsored participation in programs in Australia, Asia and Europe

World Packaging Organisation (WPO)

The Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP)


The Asian Packaging Federation (APF)

Central Food Technological Research Institute

Global Harmonization Initiative

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

The Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP)

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana

The Dean of Agriculture at a US land grant university




Further information is available upon request.


Food Security: Securing an adequate, safe and appropriate food supply. Appropriate includes local tastes and restriction.

Post-harvest food losses: All food losses occurring after harvest, including:

  • Physical losses due to spillage, bruising, crushing, vibration and impact
  • Chemical influences, typically moisture loss or gain and oxidation
  • Biological losses including insects, birds, rodents, microorganisms and over-ripening

These losses can occur during each step of transfer, transport, warehousing, etc.

Post-harvest food value chain: Food cleaning, sorting, transfer, transportation, storage, preservation, processing (where appropriate), packaging, distribution, and waste utilization.
(Packaging in this context includes bags, shippers and crates as well as consumer packaging.)

Appropriate technologies: Technologies which consider the culture, resources and capabilities of the country in which they will be implemented.



WISSH was founded in 1980 with 28 professionals from various disciplines and a common goal to reduce human suffering. We incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1991 and WISSH is a tax exempt organization under 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Donations are tax deductible.

If you would like to further this important work, please make checks payable to WISSH (or Woodstock Institute for Science in Service to Humanity), and send it to:

130 Cane Creek Harbor Road
Seneca, SC 29672

For further information, please contact:

Kenneth S. Marsh, Ph.D., CPP
Executive Director

Telephone: 864-888-0011

Our partner in the program to reduce hunger and build global food security is Crosscurrents International Institute and we invite you to visit their website at