Primary food production, including farming and fishing, is a major part of Ireland’s economy. This sector is heavily reliant on our environment so the impacts of food waste and loss are very much local.

Similar to many other countries internationally, there is very little quantified data on the levels of waste generated in these sectors. While primary food production is a very diverse sector, some of the common drivers of food loss and waste include:

  • Product specifications (e.g. size, cosmetic standards)
  • Lack of access to market or processing facilities
  • Price volatility resulting in commodity price too low to cover harvest cost
  • Premature or delayed harvesting
  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Damaged or low grade product
  • Food affected by pests, animals or disease
  • Lack of storage facilities, including lack of cold storage
  • Spoilage due to inappropriate storage, treatment and handling
  • Poor harvesting technique

Relevant resources

Food Losses And Waste In Fisheries

Why and how food losses occur in the fisheries sector and what the Food and Agriculture of the United Nations is doing about it.

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Selling Through Farmers Markets

A one stop guide for selling through farmers markets, farm shops and box schemes in Ireland


Food is Life

Video produced for Timorese audience to create awareness on food losses and food waste

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Bord Bia Sustainability Report 2016

Origin Green, part of Bord Bia the Irish Food Boards 2016 sustainability report for Irish food and Horticulture


The role of packaging in minimising food waste

RMIT University Study Reveals how Packaging can Reduce Food Waste in the Supply Chain

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Video: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s war over wonky veg, BBC 2015

Video: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's war over wonky veg, BBC 2015

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FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste

FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention


Food losses and waste in primary production

Food losses and waste in primary production: Data collection in the Nordic countries.