Farmers TanzaniaTo respond to food losses in Africa where a large section of the population is food insecure, FAO is working with partners to reduce post-harvest loss through different programmes

One of such programmes is the project on supporting the African Union (AU) in the development of policies and strategies for country-specific plans to reduce post-harvest food losses.

One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, amounting to about 1.3bn tonnes per year, which can feed 48mn people in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to a FAO study.

As part of the project activities, FAO, in collaboration with the AU and the Rockefeller Foundation, held a high-level regional workshop on post-harvest losses in Nairobi in July 2018.

Speaking at the event on behalf of FAO, Piers Simpkin, senior programme coordinator for the FAO Representation in Kenya, stated that the joint interventions of FAO and partners contribute to global efforts to reduce food losses and waste with the objective of improving food security and protecting the environment.

He added that the AU and the UN have set post-harvest loss and food waste reduction goals through the AU Malabo Declaration on halving the current levels of post-harvest losses, by the year 2025 and the SDGs.

Recognising the efforts made by FAO, Betty Kibaara, associate director of the Rockefeller Africa Regional Office, noted, “FAO has managed to spark interest from African governments to prioritise post-harvest management through setting up multi-sectoral task forces that have developed national post-harvest management strategies for inclusion into their national agricultural investment plans.”

The regional post-harvest workshop deliberated on important steps to improve the capacity of AU member countries in the design and implementation of food loss reduction policies, strategies and programmes. The importance of post-harvest strategies was further emphasised by Richard Lesiyampe, principal secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

He reiterated that the post-harvest loss strategies being developed and if implemented, can help countries to produce accurate data to report on Malabo post-harvest loss indicators, increase awareness of post-harvest losses and their impact on food security and the environment.