AFRICA: UN warns of food waste in the face of food insecurity

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AFRICA: UN warns of food waste in the face of food insecurity ©FAO

Reducing food waste to prevent food insecurity. This is the leitmotif of a virtual campaign launched jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The initiative, which mobilises the world's producers and consumers, will help improve food systems and protect the climate.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is leading an online campaign to raise awareness of resource conservation among actors in the food supply chain, particularly in Africa where the war in Ukraine is undermining people’s food supplies.

This initiative, carried out in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), will also contribute to the implementation of the 12th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 12) on sustainable production and consumption.   “In middle-income countries, we each waste an average of 74 kilograms a year. We could feed 1.26 billion hungry people through circular practices, for example, lost and wasted food can be turned into compost,” says Inger Andersen, UNEP’s executive director.

Hunger in East Africa

According to the FAO, 30% of the world’s cereals are thrown away, 50% of tubers, fruits and vegetables, 20% of oilseeds, meat and dairy products, and 35% of fish. This amounts to 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere each year as the climate crisis increasingly threatens livelihoods in East Africa.

In Madagascar, where rains are scarce in the southern part of the island, 500,000 people are in a nutritional crisis in Androy and Anosy, according to a report published on 10 February 2020 by the FAO and the Malagasy Ministry of Agriculture. In these two regions, the heat regularly dries out plantations and depletes food reserves. Most of this food is sometimes thrown away without even being sold, due to the lack of effective means of preservation and the sometimes high costs of accessing this service.

Read also- AFRICA: AfDB Issues First Green Bond to Support Food Security

In response to this uncomfortable situation, Kenyan Dysmus Kisilu launched “Solar Freeze” in 2019. This is a solar-powered mobile fridge that allows farmers to store their produce that is not purchased directly after harvest. The Nairobi, Kenya-based company sends trucks with fridges to farms to help local farmers preserve their produce.

Benoit-Ivan Wansi

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