Addis Ababa Hosting 2nd All Africa Postharvest Congress and Exhibition
September 17, 2019 (Ezega.com) — The 2nd All Africa Postharvest Congress and Exhibition kicks off yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The congress is being held under the theme “Postharvest Loss Reduction and Agro-processing: Drivers of Agricultural Transformation in Africa.”
The Congress which is organized by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the University of Nairobi, Stellenbosch University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology aims to address pertinent issues of postharvest loss reduction in the African context.
In a welcoming remark, AUC’s Commissioner for rural economy and Agriculture, Ambassador Josefa Sacko said the congress is part of AUC’effort to institutionalize the agenda regarding Postharvest Loss Reduction and make it as one of the platforms of the African Union biennial mutual accountability process.
According to the commissioner, the event which brought together high level African leaders, regional economic communities, farmers, traders, researchers, academia, innovators, policy makers, development partners, government departments, private investors, civil society and others can have the power to strengthen the reporting on progress that all stakeholders are making as a continent on achieving postharvest loss production targets.
‘The Congress is part of AU Heads of State and Government commitment within the 2014 Malabo Declaration to reduce post-harvest losses in Africa by 50 percent by 2025,’ the Commissioner said.
‘The event is important milestone and an opportunity that should be seized in our resolve to continue to uphold agriculture and food security as priority for policy and practical actions to generate concrete results that impact the continent,’ she added.
The congress and Exhibition which brings together diverse stakeholder is also facilitated in response to the United Nations sustainable development goals.
In this regard, the sustainable development Goal 12.3 of UN calls for having per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food loses along production and supply chains.
Deputy Regional Representative for Africa-FAO/UN, Ms. Jocelyn Brown Hall, said joint force of diverse stakeholders from agriculture and related sectors, including policy makers, industrial players should realize the objectives.
‘In spite of the difficulties and level of technological advancement all governments should join hand to addressing the pertinent issue of postharvest loss reduction in the continent.
According to Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations (FAO)’s report, Africa has remained the most food insecure continent in the world, with approximately 1 in 4 people undernourished.
Over the years, most African governments have focused on increasing production to meet the food and nutrition needs of the ever rising population, which is estimated to reach 2.5 billion by the year 2050.
Historical over-emphasis on increased agricultural production without complementary interventions to ensure proper utilization of the food produced has contributed to reported increase in postharvest food loss and waste over the years.
Global food losses and waste is estimated at 1.3 billion metric tonnes (MT), equivalent to over thirty percent of the total food produced for human consumption.
It is estimated that global food wastage could feed up to1.6 billion people annually. In Africa alone, the total quantitative food loss has been estimated to be over 100 million MT/year.
These losses exacerbate food insecurity and have negative impact on the environment through wasting land, water, farm inputs and energy used in producing food that is not consumed.
In addition, postharvest losses reduce income to farmers and contribute to higher food prices.
From interviewing participants, top in agenda are, raising awareness on food losses and waste through data and information sharing; showcasing effective strategies, technologies, practices, initiatives for postharvest loss reduction; monitoring and reviewing progress on postharvest loss reduction initiatives against set targets; and building and strengthening linkages and partnerships (including private sector engagement) for resource mobilization and other activities geared towards postharvest loss reduction.
The 2nd All Africa Post Harvest Congress and Exhibition will end on 20th of September 2019.