Some experts have called on African governments to adopt strategies that would reduce post-harvest losses, with emphasis on effective policies and technology-driven interventions.
They made the call in a statement at the end of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) 5th webinar series.
In the statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by Mr. Alex Abutu, AATF Communication officer, West and Central Africa, the experts stressed the need to tackle the increasing post-harvest losses suffered on the continent.
The theme of the webinar was: “Accelerating access to post-harvest management technologies for enhanced food security and trade in Africa”.
Dr Emmanuel Okogbenin, AATF’s Director of Programme Development and Commercialisation, noted that investments were required in post-harvest management (PHM), to transform the food systems in alignment with the challenges of smallholder farmers in Africa.
Okogbenin suggested integrated post-harvest management systems that would combine the best of technologies to reduce cost and maximise returns.
“Selling technologies at discounted prices to farmers to try at home and see the value in purchasing and setting up demonstration trials for PHM technologies and the resulting harvest and impact.”
According to him, five percent of investments in agricultural research over the past 30 years had been directed toward preventing post-harvest losses, a situation that needs urgent improvement if the continent was to attain food security.
Dr. Komla Bissi, CAADP Pillar II Adviser at the African Union Commission, in his contribution, noted that post-harvest loss was not unique to Africa as 1.3 billion metric tons of food, representing about 30 percent of global food produced, was lost every year to post-harvest related issues.
Bissi 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”.
He said Africa was losing more than 100 million metric tonnes of food every year, the equivalent of $4 billion that had the potentials of meeting the food needs and requirements of about 44 million people annually.
The African Union official said efforts must be scaled up to ensure that the growing disparities between food production and losses were addressed if the continent must attain food security.