Factors associated with harvest and postharvest loss among soybean farmers in Western Paraná State, Brazil

Mary Arends-Kuenning, Marcos Garcias, Akito Kamei, Pery Francisco Assis Shikida, Gisele Esser Romani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The United Nations included reducing harvest and postharvest losses as a Sustainable Millennium Development Goal in 2015, leading to increased research and policymaker interest in reducing losses to insure food security. This article analyzes the factors associated with self-reported harvest loss among soybean farmers in Paraná, Brazil, using a survey of 243 farmers. The principal–agent problem is the most important contributor to harvest and postharvest losses on the farm. Loss is lowered when the combines are operated at slower speeds and are adjusted properly, but combine operators have incentives to complete harvesting jobs and deliver soybean to storage facilities quickly. Farmers report training of the combine operators as one of the most important causes of postharvest loss. Empirical results show that farmers report a 1.5 percentage points higher harvest loss when they ask a third party to harvest. Similarly, the farmers’ education level is negatively associated with harvest loss; farmers with college completion have 1.6 percentage points less loss compared to farmers with less than fourth grade. However, larger planted areas are associated with higher harvest loss. The paper suggests that who harvests the crop is critical in reducing harvest loss. Policies and contract designs that align incentives between farmers and combine operators might reduce harvest and postharvest loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102363
JournalFood Policy
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Brazil
  • Food security
  • Harvest loss
  • Latin America
  • Postharvest loss
  • Smallholder farming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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