Lusaka – Africa should address supply chain deficiencies and implement policies that encourage wider uptake of modern food loss reduction technologies, a new report says.
Agrilinks, a United States Government “Feed the Future” initiative seeking to address global hunger, poverty and under nutrition, recently said African farmers, governments and other stakeholders should support adoption of innovations that improve food storage conditions.
In its report (“Stopping quality food loss in Sub-Saharan Africa: Post-COVID-19 Options for Smallholders”), Agrilinks noted that the global pandemic had dire implications on food security.
Comparative to other regions of the world, the report said, Africa had the lowest rate of new coronavirus-related deaths but the continent’s economies would be among the worst affected, thus exacerbating food insecurity.
In the majority of countries, farmers experience post-harvest losses of up to 40 percent of fresh produce. The losses were attributed to border closures and national lockdowns enforced by African governments as a virus control measure, but also because of pre-existing deficiencies related to storage, logistics and market access.
Agrilinks urged stakeholders to invest in post-harvest management, improve market access so that smallholders in particular can dispose of their produce timeously. There was also need, the think tank said, to invest in distribution logistics so that food could reach populaces that needed it rather than having it concentrated in urban areas.
Training in food handling post-harvest, it was noted, was also crucial; as was sustainable management of diseases and pests.