Post Harvest Loses
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 30% of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted along the supply chain every year. This is a whopping 1.3 billion metric tons of food that doesn’t ever reach the consumer. Some reports have estimated that this lost or wasted food could be used to feed 1.6 billion people every year.
In Africa, the losses are even higher: between 30% and 50%. They occur mainly downstream, between the production and retail stages of the supply chain. Fruit and vegetable losses are estimated to be 50% or more.
These loses are mainly due to inadequate post-harvest management, poor transport infrastructure, inadequate storage, and limited processing capacity.
The lack of proper storage facilities remains a major cause of post-harvest losses in Africa. Since cold-storage facilities are non-existent or inaccessible to the majority of smallholder farmers. Technological strategies and innovations along the food value chain could help to decrease these losses.
Feed Africa Advocacy Network, therefore seeks stakeholders concerted efforts and a focus on the right investments, programmed and projects to reduce the unacceptable volume of food lost to inadequate post-harvest handling.
Africa currently has close an estimated 230 million people, approximately 27.4% of its population classified as severely food insecure in 2016, which is almost four times as high as any other region.
More so, for every food wasted in Africa there is a comparative loss in jobs that could have been provided for youths if further processing or value chain development was to be undertaken. A 2011 World Bank study estimated the value of African grain losses alone at USD$4 billion for grains alone in Africa.
Therefore, we cannot continue to allow further food wastages from the current food production level that is even insufficient to feed a growing African population. While we seek to produce more, we must ensure optimum use and preservation of what is currently produced.
We, therefore, at Feed Africa Advocacy Network, seek a new stakeholders focus, commitment and investments to tackle post-harvest food lose in Africa.