How to Solve Africa’s $4bn Post-harvest Losses
The Coordinator of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme at the African Union Commission, Dr Komla Bissi, has said that Africa loses 100 million metric tonnes of food yearly, an equivalent to $4bn.
In view of this, experts have emphasised the need to curb post-harvest losses through effective policies and technologies in order to drive food sufficiency in the country.
They made this call during a webinar on ‘Accelerating access to post-harvest management technologies for enhanced food security and trade in Africa’ organised by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation.
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This was contained in a press statement titled ‘Africa cannot afford post-harvest losses; needs policies and technologies to strengthen food security’ issued by AATF’s spokesperson, Alex Abutu, in Abuja on Sunday.
The statement said, “African experts have expressed the need for national governments and regional bodies to adopt effective policies and technology-driven interventions to reduce post-harvest losses stifling food security in the region.”
AATF’s Director of Programme Development and Commercialisation, Dr Emmanuel Okogbenin, stated that deploying integrated post-harvest management systems using top-notch technologies to lessen cost and boost returns would be the most appropriate way to manage post-harvest losses.
He further suggested how the technologies could be promoted to farmers to ensure uptake.
“Selling technologies at discounted prices for farmers to try at home and see the value in purchasing and setting up easy and affordable demonstration trials for post-harvest management,” he was quoted as saying.
Okogbenin asked African governments to increase investment in technologies, noting that agricultural biotechnology could help in curtailing post-harvest diseases, enhance resistance to bruising and slowing down ripening.
Bissi, who disclosed that 1.3 billion metric tonnes of food representing about 30 per cent of global food produced is lost annually to post-harvest related issues, stated that Africa loses 100 million metric tons of food year, which could feed 44 million people.
“Dr Bissi who spoke on ‘Creating an enabling environment for efficient post-harvest management to facilitate regional trade in the context of AfCFTA: The role of regional bodies’ said Africa was losing 100 million metric tons of food every year which is equivalent to $4bn. These losses have the potential of meeting the food need and requirement of about 44 million people annually, “the statement read.
He was further quoted as saying that there was need to improve systemic capacities of national institutions across the continent.