United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has called on African countries to bolster their efforts and encourage private sector investments to reduce food losses and waste.
This call was made by the Assistant Director-General and regional representative for Africa at FAO, Abebe Haile-Gabriel.
He said that the Covid-19 pandemic had triggered a wake-up call for the need to radically transform food systems to make them more efficient and sustainable for people and the planet.
‘Tackling food loss and waste, and particularly post-harvest loss reduction, in Africa is essential to achieve that goal’, he said in a statement.
A vast majority of food loss across Africa happens between harvest and the point of sale, while very little is wasted by consumers after purchase, according to FAO.
It said some of the leading causes of food loss in Africa are a lack of cold chain facilities especially for perishables, unreliable and inadequate storage facilities and insufficient agro-processing skills among smallholder farming communities.
FAO noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had caused consumers in many low-income countries to purchase only staple carbohydrates and non-perishables, resulting in perishable food often being wasted in markets.
The report says physical distancing measures in some countries have reduced the number of customers in markets, also resulting in increased food losses and reduced incomes for traders.
Photo source: Charles Haynes