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Food losses in Sub-Saharan Africa up to $4b annually-FAO

Sub-Saharan loses up to $4 billion annually in food losses owing to inadequate storage facilities and insufficient agro-processing skills.

In marking the first-ever International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, the Food and Agriculture (FAO) said the continent was suffering food losses most of which happen between harvest and the point of sale.

The UN body noted the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the situation which now calls for robust action.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a wake-up call for the need to radically transform our food systems to make them more efficient and sustainable for people and planet. Tackling food loss and waste, and particularly post-harvest loss reduction, in Africa is essential to achieve that goal,” FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa.

According to FAO, farm losses in vegetables and fruits have risen by a further 50% in the sub-Saharan region owing to the COVID-19 pandemic which is the highest in the world.

On a global scale, around 14 percent of the food produced is lost between harvest and retail. Significant quantities are also wasted in retail and at the consumption level.

When food is lost or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce the food, including water, land, energy, labour and capital, are also wasted, FAO added.

Reducing food losses on farms and at harvest time, particularly in countries with high levels of food insecurity, can make great inroads towards food security and improved nutrition. Such changes are a responsibility shared by governments, the private sector, civil society, development agencies, research and academic institutions, and consumers.