Saturday, 23 April 2016

Waste, Storage Facilities and Food Prices

The next food revolution is here: stemming the tide of food waste. Roughly 70 percent of the food produced in Nigeria never reach our plates. This is in contrast to the high amount of malnourishment and hunger amongst vulnerable sections of the population.

The shopping, cooking, and eating habits of every day consumers are responsible for the bulk of wasted food, which is actually good news—it means we have the power to make a significant and immediate change in the food waste equation.
Of course there are also big structural issues at play—from regulations that encourage grocery stores, market sellers and transporters to discard food prematurely due to quality issues, storage challenges or aesthetics reasons.

Recently traders at the boundary market between Kogi and Benue states have called on the states and federal government to enhance storage facilities for their food produce. A substantial amount of their products are lost as post harvest losses due to this problem. They travel several kilometers from the hinterland to the market with their farm products, and on a good day the market for yam, garri, cassava flour and tomatoes go well and they smile home, but on other not so good days, when the market go sour, the products, especially garri and tomatoes, are wasted for lack of storage facilities.

The traders who made their position known to the government when speaking to LEADERSHIP in Lokoja, yesterday, noted that for sometime now even at the expense of sacrificing other things to engage in farming, there is no encouragement from the government both at the local or national level.

The leader of the market women, Alhaja Junai Shaibu, who narrated the harrowing experience of what the traders go through every market day pointed out that the quick intervention of the governments for the traders will be the provision of storage facilities for their unsold products.

It is time we started reducing our food waste by adopting new ways e.g. purchasing directly from farmers, preservation by partially cooking, sun drying and other affordable ways we could use in reducing food waste footprint in our homes, lives and economy. This alone cannot solve the problem as storage still needs to be addressed by the government and investors in agriculture.