Horticulture Sector Action Plan | Fight Food Waste CRC
Select Page

Horticulture Sector Action Plan

The challenge

The horticulture sector is the second highest (13%) in value among agricultural industries in Australia (Ambiel et al., 2019). This sector, however, is accountable for about 33% of the total food waste in Australia (McKenzie et al., 2017). At a national level, Australia loses about 7% to 10% fruits and vegetables at the production stage, 11% to 12% at processing/packing stages and 22% to 25% after processing or packaging (Ambiel et al., 2019).

This study will address the following underlying issues related to horticultural waste:

  1. Hotspots of waste in the horticulture sector from primary production to retail (before consumption)
  2.  Root causes of this waste
  3. Managing horticultural waste by using a food recovery hierarchy
  4. Prioritising management options (i.e., an action plan)
  5. Monitoring and evaluation of measures to be taken under the action plan.

Our plan

Central Queensland University (CQU) will lead this project with support from RMIT and USQ and in collaboration with Stop Food Waste Australia (SFWA), Fight Food Waste (FFW) CRC and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (QDES), will develop an action plan to reduce food waste across the horticulture sector of Australia. This will consist of an overall national framework and plans for two commodities. This study will use the Review-Plan-Do approach (FIAL, 2019) to develop a framework for the whole of the horticulture sector as well as applying WRAP’s whole chain food waste reduction plan toolkit (WRAP, 2020) to build action plans for the Banana and Melon industries.

Initially research will focus on identifying waste hotspots, followed by a deep dive into root cause analysis. Using the food recovery hierarchy, the project will then identify and prioritise a range of practical solutions through co-design workshops to facilitate industry buy-in and adoption. Throughout this process the team will identify international and domestic best practices, emerging technologies, and effective solutions from comparable industries. Impacts will include increased profitability, increased supply chain resilience and reduced environmental effects. Results will be publicly disseminated via Action Plans, and Industry stakeholder engagement.


Acevedo, A. S., Carrillo, Á.J. D., Flórez-López, E.; Grande-Tovar, C.D. 2021, Recovery of Banana Waste-Loss from Production and Processing: A Contribution to a Circular Economy. Molecules 2021, 26, 5282.
Ambiel C, Adell, A, Sanguansri P, Krause D, Gamage T, Garcia-Flores, R and Juliano P, 2019, Mapping Australia fruit and vegetable losses pre-retail. CSIRO, Australia.
FIAL, 2019 Resources for Implementing the National Food Waste Strategy
McKenzie, T.J., Singh-Peterson, L., and Underhill, S.J.R., 2017, Quantifying Postharvest Loss and the Implication of Market-Based Decisions: A Case Study of Two Commercial Domestic Tomato Supply Chains in Queensland, Australia, Horticulturae, 3 (44): 1-15.
WRAP, 2020, Whole Chain Food Waste Reduction Plan Toolkit, WRAP & IGD, UK.



17/10/2022 – 31/05/2023

Project Leader

Delwar Akbar, Central Queensland University