ADDIS ABABA – Agriculture Ministers of East African regional bloc, Igad, adopted a motion endorsing a new regional post-harvest loss management strategy as part of the bloc’s effort to ensure food security in the region.
The Ministers unanimously adopted the plan of action, named as Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) post-harvest management strategy or PHLM, at a virtual meeting last week.
The strategy is expected to guide future interventions and activities aimed at reducing food loss and waste towards improving nutrition and food security in the eight-country trade bloc
In a statement, Igad’s Executive Secretary, Workneh Gebeyehu has welcomed the Post-Harvest Loss strategy, which is expected to be domesticated at the national level by member countries.
According to the Executive Secretary, post-Harvest Loss is an important but often forgotten factor that exacerbates food and nutrition insecurity in the region.
Workneh expressed the bloc’s commitment to achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union agenda 2063, which aim to half post-harvest loss, in general, and the full implementation of the new strategy in particular.
Gov’ts urged to do more
Food losses in Sub-Saharan Africa can be as high as 50 percent, in high-value commodities products from production up to retail, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization or FAO which provided technical support in the formulation of the new strategy.
In 2018 alone. the agency says the IGAD region experienced post-harvest losses in grains of approximately 4.1 million metric tons, valued at over USD 1.3 billion.
Of the eight Igad member countries, only Uganda is on track to meet the post-harvest loss targets as per the recent African Union Review Report on the Implementation of the 2014 Malabo Declaration.
Chimimba Phiri, the FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa, advised Igad countries to enhance investment in the prevention of food losses, which deprives the population of safe and nutritious food for human consumption.
“Given that nearly a third of the food we produce is lost or wasted, there is a need for governments to seriously consider allocating adequate budgets for food loss and waste reduction,” Phiri said.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization or FAO gave technical support during the formulation of the strategy.
The IGAD region stretches over an area of 5.2 million km2 that comprises the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.
Featured Image: Farmers use maize thresher machine provided by FAO to reduce post-harvest loss in Ethiopia’s Afar region. [Photo FAO/Tamiru Legesse]