The challenge of post-harvest losses in Africa has a assumed a major worry to the African Development Bank (AfDB), calling for immediate solutions.
The bank said that reports indicate that post-harvest losses in Africa are equivalent to the annual caloric requirement of 48 million people, and worth US $4 billion in lost revenue per year.
The bank has emphasised the need for policy regulations to end losses on the continent that spends $35 billion on yearly food imports.
A statement by AfDB quoted its President Akinwunmi Adesina as saying that there had been a laudable harvest this year.
“Massive quantities of food crops, fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy products go to waste in rural areas, while Africa depends on food imports,” he said.
Adesina underscored the establishment of private sector-driven food processing and manufacturing companies in rural areas.
The companies, he said should deal with the immense food waste, enough to feed at least 300 million people a year.
He made the presentation at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) which held in Nairobi in a paper, “Role of Policy in Enabling Public-Private Partnerships to Achieve African Agricultural Transformation”.
“More than the 250 million people go hungry each year in Africa,” he said.
He said that there should be agro-allied industrial zones and staple-crop processing zones in rural areas to be supported with consolidated infrastructure, including roads, water, electricity.
This he said, would force down the cost of doing business for private food and agribusiness firms.
The atmosphere would create markets for farmers, boost economic opportunities in rural areas, stimulate jobs and attract higher domestic and foreign investments in the rural areas.
“They will turn the rural areas into zones of economic prosperity,” he said.
Nigeria is expected to have a bumper harvest as testified by the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh.
He said that government is seeking ways of many harvest to reach the major markets in order to minimize wastes.