Addressing Africa’s Food Crisis

Published on 22nd February 2017

The devastating drought in the Horn of Africa is producing a humanitarian crisis. The number of people in crisis and emergency food insecurity levels now stands at 11.2 million people, with 2.9 million in Somalia, 5.6 million in Ethiopia, and 2.7 million in Kenya, reports the WFP. A famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan while another one is looming in north-eastern Nigeria. Cereal prices are at record highs in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania, while maize yields are down across southern Africa as a result of new pests including the fall armyworm.

One way to mitigate this is by curbing postharvest losses. An estimated 30 percent of the food produced for global consumption is lost or wasted along the supply chain. Food losses and waste impact food security and nutrition by reducing the availability of food commodities and increasing prices. Maintaining the quality of already-produced food is essential for improved nutrition and food security.

It is with this understanding that The East Africa Post-Harvest Technologies Competition 2017 organized by The Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) in partnership with the USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub (the Hub) and agribusiness corporation Syngenta is a step in the right direction. The competition aims at identifying scalable innovations and technologies that address challenges in postharvest management of food crop commodities. Submission Categories include: Postharvest innovation/technology that targets perishable commodities, including fruits, vegetables, roots, tubers and edible fungi; Perishable livestock and fish products, including milk, meat, eggs, and fish; Non-Perishable food commodities, including grains, cereals and pulses, and processed foods; and Postharvest labour enhancing technologies (including the use of harvesters, threshers, winnowing machines and shellers). Interested participants can e-mail profiles to [email protected].

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