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As the behavior of middle income countries, the biggest food distribution center in
Colombia (CORABASTOS) produces 4.5 daily tons of FW (Food Waste) while some
people is starving near this huge place. This is why it is necessary to take actions
including the deployment of the cold chain, food banking and FW to energy
technologies in order to diminish the FW production not only by improving the food
quality but also recovering the FW with charitable, environmental, and economical

The food production chain in Colombia, according to the (DNP, 2016), consists of 5
processes: agricultural food production, post-harvest handling, food processing, retail
and distribution, and consumption, within which the food losses (i.e. the difference
between the food weight during the first three processes) and wastes (i.e. the
difference between the food weight for the last two ones) rise about 34% equal to 9.7
millions of tons per year, being the both the F&V (Fruits and Vegetables) and the Tuber
and Roots the largest contributors with 40.5% and 20.6%, respectively. This behavior
can be seen in CORABASTOS where all the F&V from farms around the country are
delivered and then distributed to different types of industries (e.g. supermarkets,
grocery stores, factories, restaurants, etc.). In this huge place the FW reach about 4.5
daily tons including good quality food. Meanwhile, the 5.5% of the households in the
neighborhood near the distribution center has at least one inhabit that does not eat
during (El Espectador, 2016). According to Luis Hernando Rios, the CORABASTOSs
press officer, this phenomenon is due to the weather and the available long distances
to deliver very short life F&V. Considering this, the great distributor has made a deal
with the Food Bank of Bogota to recover the good quality food and distribute it to low-
income people (Banco de Alimentos de Bogota, 2016), however there are other
technological actions (e.g. Cold Chain, Bioenergy Conversion Technologies, etc.) that
should be taken into account because their deployment is likely both to overcome the
real CORABASTOSs issues and make a profit from the FW.

Taking into account the long distances of short life F&V as a cause of the FW
production in CORABASTOS, the cold chain would tackle straightway the problem.
One way to keep the good F&V quality from farm to fork is taking the produce to a

specific temperature and moisture whose values rely on the F&V nature which
produces the lessening of both the F&V breathing and Ethylene gas yield thus a slow
ripening. Furthermore if the product is at the proper state, there will be a decreasing
of humidity losses and spread of microorganisms (Procolombia, 2014). This is the
foundation of the Cold Chain which, according to (Negi & Anand, 2015), begins in the
supply procurement where the F&V are packed, for avoiding their damage caused by
the rough handling, and taken to the proper conditions. Once the produce is cooled, it
will be transported to storages or the end customer by refrigerated means of
transportation like trucks, railway wagons, cargo containers, etc. which keep the
temperature of the F&V until these ones are delivered. One example of a Cold Chain
deployment is Global Agri System, an Indian company that from 2006 to 2010 had
deployed six huge facilities with the following strategic business units: procurement of
productions areas, contract farming, produce sorting, basic packaging, pre-cooling,
controlled ripening, cold storage, cold transportation and distribution. In 2010 this
company planned the deployment of three other ones with a whole capacity of 45
millions of tons and an investment of about 4.5 million dollars which would be
recovered in 10 years (Confederation of Indian Industry, 2011). Although the cold
chain means a substantial investment, its deployment would bring the reduction of FW,
improving of the quality food and a considerable profit.

Although the benefits due to the Cold Chain deployment, there will be a certain amount
of FW production including good quality food which can be recovered and delivered to
low-income people, just as it was proposed through the agreement between
CORABASTOS and the Food Bank of Bogota. Within CORABASTOS, which is
located in south-western Bogota, are about 6,000 traders who rent establishments
inside 32 storages sorted by food group that is traded in there (e.g. beans, vegetables,
roots, fruits, etc.) (DANE, 2012). Considering this distribution and a possible Cold
Chain deployment, the FW would be produced by the traders likely due to the rough
handing, short life of perishable food, and even the F&V appearance, so that they are
the most proper link of the chain for classifying the edible and non-traded food in order
to be gathered, recovered and delivered afterwards. This is the Food Bank of Bogotas
proposal which is going to begin doing planned campaigns to raise awareness
throughout the traders, emphasizing in the fact that the recovered food is aimed to
feed to low-income citizens (Banco de Alimentos de Bogota, 2016). Taking into

account the great benefits of this proposal, the involved entities should try to deploy it,
focusing on the traders who are the key factors to achieve the goal.

Regarding the non-edible FW, there are some available technologies that could be
deployed in order to produce energy from the FW as the raw material. The food-waste-
to-energy technologies that have been explored includes: biological (e.g. anaerobic
digestion and fermentation), thermal and thermochemical technologies (e.g.
incineration, pyrolysis, gasification and hydrothermal oxidation) (Pham, Kaushik,
Parshetti, Mahmood, & Balasubramanian, 2014). In the case of CORABASTOS, a bio-
digester has been operating in there since 2009 (DANE, 2012), however it has not
been a proper solution because of the long treatment time which is a great
disadvantage considering the huge volume flow of FW in CORABASTOS, therefore
there is a need to find which one is the most proper technology to be deployed in the
biggest distribution center of the country, considering environmental, energy-
economic, and health aspects. The starting point for achieving this goal is to know the
nature of the FW in CORABASTOS through the measuring of the FW properties
including the heating value, moisture content, elemental analysis, and volume flow.
The deployment of an FW-to-energy technology would bring economical and energy
benefits, nevertheless its success relies on some aspects which have to be considered
since a strong research of the FW CORABASTOSs nature

To conclude, the deployment of the Cold Chain, Food Banking and a proper FW-to-
energy Technology are an integral solution to reduce considerably or even avoid the
FW production in CORABASTOS, however it is necessary to develop strong
researches, analysis and studies, considering environmental, energy, economic and
health aspects to pick off the most proper options aimed to improve the performance
of the biggest food distribution center in Colombia.


Banco de Alimentos de Bogota. (2016). Se afianza alianza entre Corabastos y

Banco de Alimentos contra el desperdicio. Bogot D.C. Retrieved from Alianza Corabastos
Banco de Alimentos.pdf

Confederation of Indian Industry. (2011). Success Stories in Indian Cold Chain

Industry. New Delhi.

DANE. (2012). Caractersticas de las instalaciones y el abastecimiento en

Corabastos. Boletn Trimestral ABASTECIMIENTO DE ALIMENTOS, 1, 8.
Retrieved from

DNP. (2016). Colombianos botan 9,76 millones de toneladas de comida al ao.

Retrieved July 17, 2016, from

El Espectador. (2016). En Corabastos se desperdician diariamente hasta 4.5

toneladas de alimentos. Retrieved July 16, 2016, from

Negi, S., & Anand, N. (2015). Cold Chain: A Weak Link in the Fruits and Vegetables
Supply Chain in India. IUP Journal of Supply Chain Management, 12(1), 4862.
Retrieved from

Pham, T. P. T., Kaushik, R., Parshetti, G. K., Mahmood, R., & Balasubramanian, R.
(2014). Food-waste-to-energy conversion technologies: Current status and
future directions. Waste Management (New York, N.Y.), 2050, 110. Retrieved

Procolombia. (2014). Logstica de perecederos y cadena de fro en Colombia.

Cartilla Cadena de Fro. Retrieved from