Fisheries Officer and key expert on Food Security at the SmartFish Programme – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Davide Signa has been a food waste activist since he was a university student when he initiated a group of students to be responsible for the recuperation of leftovers from the faculty cafeteria for homeless people in his hometown Palermo in Italy. Mr. Signa has obtained two advanced degrees with distinction in Agriculture Sciences and Technology (1999) from the University of Palermo and in Tropical and Subtropical Agricultural Sciences (2003) from University of Florence.
He started his professional career with international NGOs from 1999 to 2004, after which he joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) where he currently still works.
He has worked as a project manager for several projects in a total of 11 countries across Africa, Asia, Central and South America in the fields of agriculture and fisheries.
In his work he has been involved in several activities related to value chain efficiency and food losses for different commodities from grains to horticultural products and more recently with a particular focus on fish and fish products.
In his current assignment with the FAO SmartFish Programme he is leading a series of activities on post-harvest losses in small scale fisheries in the Southern and Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean regions, at both the grass roots and policy level.
He has been working in close collaboration with a broad set of institutional and implementing partners including private sector, NGOs, regional economic communities (RECs), regional fisheries bodies (RFB), government departments and other UN agencies in order to contribute to the decision making processes related to the reduction of post-harvest losses at the national and regional level.
For example, the activities he coordinated in strong collaboration with private sector on the mud crab industry in Madagascar improved significantly the value chain performance reducing in the target areas the losses occurred due to crab mortality from 27% to 15%.
Mr. Signa is a member of the Save Food initiative and attended and presented during the last two Save Food initiatives: the Save Food conference during the World Food Week in October 2013 and the Global Save Food Partnership meeting in December 2013.
He currently leaves in the island of Mauritius with his family and dog.
3 Questions to … Davide Signa
1. Which aspect of the food waste problem is the most relevant?
My area of focus is post-harvest loss (PHL) reduction on small scale fisheries in Africa. Fish is one of the most perishable commodities and due to the inefficiency in the value chains of most African artisanal fisheries, hundreds of thousands of tons of fish every year get lost which serious effects on the food insecurity of millions of African fishermen and their families.
2. And what should be done to improve things in this field?
Understanding the dynamics of these losses and identify the critical points where to intervene is a top priority. Many low cost innovative solutions are available in the world and they can be easily disseminated and their “profitability” proven to stimulate adoption by fisheries value-chain operators. A lot also needs to be done to increase awareness at grass-root level on the importance of hygiene and good handling practices to reduce food losses.
3. Do you know SAVE FOOD intitiative already and which role does the Initiative SAVE FOOD play in fighting food losses and food waste in your opinion?
I came across with the Save Food initiative during my work with FAO /SmartFish programme. I attended and presented during the last two Save Food initiatives: the Save the Food conference during the World Food Week in October 2013 and the Global Save Food Partnership meeting in December 2013.