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Sunday, December 29, 2013

UN agencies team-up on Swiss funded $2.7m project in 3 African countries

Three United Nations (UN) agencies have teamed up on the $2.7 million project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) targeting food losses in developing countries, with capabilities to boost harvesting, processing, transportation and storage as a result of inadequate infrastructure or lack of skills and technology, reports NaijaAgroNet.

These UN agencies, NaijaAgroNet gathered include Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in three countries, namely Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

NaijaAgroNet notes that about one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted each year, which amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes or enough food to feed 2 billion people. 

The three-year project, NaijaAgroNet learnt will focus on reducing losses of grains and pulses such as maize, rice, beans and cow peas, staple foods that play a significant role in global food security and have a major impact on the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers. 

According to a 2011 report by the World Bank, FAO and the United Kingdom's Natural Resources Institute, grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa alone are worth potentially $4 billion a year and could meet the minimum annual food requirements of at least 48 million people. 

At a global level, the joint initiative will share knowledge on the most effective ways to reduce post-harvest losses and help countries introduce policies and regulations to cut down on wastage at national and regional level. 

The project will also identify critical points for losses in pulse and grain supply chains in three African pilot countries - Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda - and identify and test potential solutions to issues such as ineffective harvesting and handling, storage moisture levels, attacks by rats, birds and other pests, and insect damage. 

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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