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Ending food losses to achieve food security and protect the environment

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FAO and partners collaborate to reach Malabo Declaration and Sustainable Development food loss targets

31 July 2018, Nairobi - FAO studies indicate that one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. This amount of food can feed 48 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.

To respond to food losses in a continent 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 which 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.

As part of the project activities, FAO, in collaboration with the African Union and the Rockefeller foundation, held a well-attended high-level regional workshop on post-harvest losses in Nairobi from 24 to 25 July.

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 African Union and the United Nations 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 (SDG 12:3).

Simpkin stated, “This workshop provides the opportunity for more AU member states to adopt and implement post-harvest loss (PHL) management systems developed in the project pilot countries.”

Betty Kibaara, Associate Director of the Rockefeller Africa Regional Office, in her remarks stated that the issue of food waste and food loss has not been given due attention by actors on the continent. She recognized the efforts made by partners. “FAO has managed to spark interest from African governments to prioritize 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,” she added.

The regional post-harvest workshop deliberated on key 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 emphasized by Richard Lesiyampe, the Principal Secretary in the Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries who, in his opening remarks, 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.

Background

FAO, Rockefeller Foundation and the African Union Commission have been collaborating on this project, which provides technical support to the African Union Commission and its member states. Four countries including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania, have been piloting country level interventions. At the AU, the project has enhanced the post-harvest management capacity to monitor progress to achieve the Malabo and SDG goals. At country level, the project has enabled agricultural tertiary training colleges to adopt the FAO loss assessment methodology into their training curriculum. This will ensure agricultural graduates leaving college will have the capacity to develop solutions to address post-harvest losses.

In addition, development of country level post-harvest loss strategies which, if implemented, will help countries in reducing food losses and monitor progress to meet PHL targets. The expectation is that all AU member states will adopt these new systems and use them to manage food loss reduction efforts and achieve the Malabo and SDG 12.3 goals.

The two-day workshop included working sessions that reviewed and validated project results and findings on country specific PHL policies and strategies. The event also created a platform for key stakeholders from African countries to share experiences and lessons learned and harmonize food loss reduction initiatives on the continent.