Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Developing contexts are characterized by a food supply chain that is dependent on small retail outlets, kiosks and temporary market stalls. A greater proportion of the operators within the value chain are small holder with limited capacity to sustain steady stocks and supply.
Incidences of food waste and food loss have been rampant across Africa, presenting opportunities for learning, innovation and growth. Consequently, the Continent ( Africa) has benefitted from creation and roll out of solutions targeted at increasing efficiency and effectiveness in food handling and reducing the impact of challenges experienced across the supply chain.
At the macro level, development actors have recognized the pressure on food systems and championed innovation-driven food systems that have the capabilities of contributing immensely towards the SDGs. The road map has highlighted contributions in:(i) promotion of resource-efficient, productive agricultural systems resilient to climate change; (ii)creation of new opportunities for local value addition, business development and stable markets; (iii) revitalization of rural communities and alleviation of poverty; (iv) enhancement of food security; and (v), Increased possibilities to reduce and decarbonize energy and material flows.
The immediate outcomes have manifested in the growth of bioscience innovations in Africa; use of mobile diagnostics in improving food security, growth on calls to use orphan crops ( sorghum and millet ) to improve health and incomes and creation of policy frameworks that support the use of bioscience. Indeed, the food chain space in Africa has been revolutionized and actors like Twiga Foods continue to raise funds with contributions from investment ( venture capitalists) and non-investment ( donors/grants) partners to grow their portfolio and support efficient post harvest handling of produce and build an effective root-to-market platform (using green-cold chains)- delivered through an integrated mobile application.
The impact of such models (Twiga Foods) may be a foregone conclusion. The concept defined by the introduction of farmer centered capacity building on models of production; the setting up of food safe collection centers and the immediate and robust linkages to markets with green transport and storage facilities qualify steady production and supply of safe food. But we cannot call it out unless it is tested empirically.
PEA Consultancy-F.Z.E, invites stakeholders to review and establish rigorous monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that will generate evidence and answer the question on the impact of food chain innovations on sustainability, answering to the basics of ; can innovation within the food chain industry in Africa deliver cuts on food loss and waste? How significant are these cuts and can the same models be implemented and scaled-up in other contexts?