Stakeholders rue post-harvest losses, advocate solar energy to curb wastage – Punch Newspapers
Published 24 October 2021
With the increasing world population, world food production is not sufficient in meeting the demands of the surging human population. Africa is not left out in the increase in food demand, especially Nigeria, seeing as it is the most populous African nation and farmers in food-producing states now in the grip of killer herders.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), commenting on the food shortages plaguing the country during his nationwide broadcast commemorating the nation’s 61st independence, noted that food prices had been going up due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who, he said, had been buying and hoarding essential commodities for profiteering.
However, food inadequacy is not the only issue bedevilling Nigeria and the African continent at large; preserving available ones seems to be an even greater problem. Since most available food preservation methods are energy-dependent and as Nigeria suffers a paralytic power supply, the methods had proven ineffective.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, each year, approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted. In only the year 2007, about 1.4 billion hectares of land – 28 per cent of the world’s agricultural area – was wasted by growing food that was not consumed; an area larger than Canada and China.
The FAO projected that annually, Nigeria records $9bn (N3.5tn) post-harvest losses. This situation forces Nigerian farmers to sell off their produce at near giveaway rates as they lack the facilities to store their agricultural produce for they either sell the crops or incur heavier losses.
Recent studies indicated that while post-consumer food waste accounted for the greatest overall losses among affluent economies, food wastes were higher at the immediate post-harvest stages in developing countries and wastage of perishable foods higher across industrialised and developing economies.
Food waste is a much bigger problem than many people realise. Nearly one-third of all food produced in the world is discarded or wasted for various reasons. This equates roughly to nearly 1.3 billion tons every year.
A new report by the United Nations on food wastage identified food wastage in Nigeria per citizen as the highest in Africa. The report indicated that a Nigerian trashes at least 189 kilogrammes of food every year, amounting to a total of 37.9 million (37,941,470) tonnes of food every 12 months.
The World Resources Institute noted that reducing food waste by half would benefit the environment significantly by reducing the need for land, water, and other resources to grow food. It added that cutting food waste in half would lower greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 …….