The African Union Commission, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Rockefeller Foundation, are engaged in a two-day High-level meeting with key stakeholders to develop policies and strategies for country specific plans to reduce post-harvest losses, in response to the 2014 Malabo Declaration on Africa Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation (3AGT).
The 2014 AU Malabo Declaration commits AU member states to reduce the current levels of PHL by 50 percent, thereby contributing to the goal to end hunger in Africa by 2025.
The outcomes of the forum will contribute to stronger coordination of food loss reduction initiatives and improved alignment to the Malabo Declaration Implementation Roadmap, while improving the capacity of African Union Member States in the design and implementation of food loss reduction policies, strategies and related investments. Specific country case studies where the AUC and FAO have collaborated with governments to tackle PHL includes Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
AUC Head of Rural Economy Division, Dr. Janet Edeme noted that PHL singly has a tremendous impact on the totality of food and nutrition security on the continent stating that studies show that currently, a third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted from the farm to the consumers.
“Apart from reducing the total amount and quality of food available, PHL also exacerbates the already fragile poverty ridden rural economies by eroding income generation along the food value chain and therefore affects the accessibility as well as sustainability of food and nutrition security,” she said.
The results of the 2018 Biennial Review Report on progress of implementation of the Malabo Declaration commitments on the post-harvest losses indicated that only five countries on the continent reported having collected the required adequate data on post-harvest losses in their countries. The countries, Malawi, Mauritania, Rwanda, Togo and Uganda are on track towards achieving the post-harvest loss target by 2025. This means that only 9% of the countries on the continent demonstrated explicit efforts and reporting on postharvest losses in their countries. 76% of the continent (42 Member States) did not report or avail data on their efforts to reduce PHL.
Whilst not reporting on this indicator does not mean that there are no post-harvest losses in those countries, the lack of data on the indicator seems to indicate a major challenge with post-harvest loss management including monitoring and reporting in the majority of the African Union Member States.
“These critical gaps and elements identified during the tracking of the PHL indicator has contributed to the development of a Continental PHL Strategy of which an initial draft has been developed,” Dr. Edeme said.
Kenya’s Principal Secretary in Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Richard Lesiyampe, while opening the meeting reiterated that the Kenyan Government was committed to reducing post-harvest losses to 5 percent from the current 30 percent.
He said the Kenyan Government was committed to learning and sharing experiences on the best policies and practices necessary to tackle PHL.
Also speaking during the opening ceremony, were FAO and Rockefeller representatives, Dr. Piers Simpkin and Dr. Betty Kibaara, the Associate Director of the Rockefeller Foundation in Africa, respectively.