The event, which brought together scientists, government executives from the agriculture sector, local and international agribusiness firms, farmers, financial institutions, potential investors, academic institutions, civil society organizations and thought leaders also featured a post-harvest technologies and innovations challenge that collated data and showcased emerging technologies in post-harvest as a great resource for stakeholders in Africa’s agriculture sector. A range of emerging and scalable technologies were showcased by extension agents, entrepreneurs, investors, donors, and researchers with the top ten innovations being pitched and acknowledged during a special event held during the Congress.
Delegates discussed actionable strategies to reverse the current trend where Africa loses 40 per cent of its grains and 50 per cent of its fruits before reaching the market. They attributed the huge losses to poor policies, retrogressive post-harvest management practices, lack of structured markets, inadequate storage in households and on farms and limited processing capacity. After strong deliberations, delegates ultimately came out with a number of recommendations aimed at ensuring that countries fulfill postharvest-related commitments contained in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Malabo Declaration (2014) which seek to halve postharvest losses by 2030 and 2025 respectively. They called upon government, the private sector, and other actors to rally behind the realization of the provisions of the two policy directions.
The congress expressed its commitment to the principles of zero tolerance to postharvest loss and waste management with delegates called for stock taking of existing, applicable, and appropriate technologies and solutions for the different value chains particularly those targeting smallholder farmers. Delegates also called for value chain and product diversification to support, empower and fulfill the requirements of large scale “anchor buyers” as well as the establishment of capacity development and knowledge sharing platforms to enhance service delivery in the sector. Further they called for increased investments in new technologies to reduce post-harvest losses and recommended increased participation on the private sector in research and value chain activities.
The Congress was hosted by the University of Nairobi in partnership with a consortium of Kenyan universities, Research and Development Organizations, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries in conjunction with the World Food Preservation Center