Whether for profit or social motives - and often both - an increasing number of investors are targeting opportunities in African agriculture. At the same time innovative approaches for deploying aid to support farming businesses linked to smallholders are emerging. This blog provides a snapshot of who is doing what, where and how.

17 May 2011

Global food waste tops 1bn tonnes a year - FAO

More than a billion tonnes of food is being wasted globally every year, unnecessarily exploiting land, water and energy, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has claimed.
A report commissioned by the FAO said improved harvest techniques and farmer education was needed to reduce the 1.3bn tonnes of food which is lost along the food chain or wasted every year.

The study says food loss - which occurs during production, harvest, post-harvest and processing phases - was more significant in developing countries. But in the developed world, consumer food waste was the biggest trend - accounting for 222m tonnes - more than the entire net food production of Sub-Saharan Africa (230m tonnes).

Making a series of recommendations, the FAO report says greater investment in processing facilities in developing countries was needed. It also calls for the creation of contract farming linkages between processors and farmers, as well as a "better enabling environment" to stimulate the private sector investment in the food industry.

Marketing cooperatives and improved market facilities, with funding from public and private sources, were also essential, with a role for farmers markets to narrow the gap between producers and consumers, the report adds.