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Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Africa food bank conference underscores regional growth strategies - NaijaAgroNet

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The second Africa Food Bank Conference ended in the city of Accra, Ghana under the auspeces of Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) in partnership with Ghanaian, Food for All Africa (FFAA), underscoring need for regional growth strategies, reports NaijaAgroNet.
Africa food bank conference underscores regional growth strategies - NaijaAgroNet
Food banks from across Africa gathered in Accra to discuss common opportunities and challenges and to learn from the experience and expertise of peers.

“It is amazing to have the opportunity to bring our colleagues in food banking across Africa here to Accra,” said Elijah Amoo Addo, executive director of Food for All Africa. “There are food banks that have been working for many years, like FoodFoward SA (South Africa), and others that are just starting, like Zambian Food Bank, and together with the Global FoodBanking Network, we are fostering the growth of foodbanks across Africa.”

The Global FoodBanking Network works with 15 food banks in 13 countries in Africa, eight of which have joined the Network since 2023. Every food bank in the Network is locally led and operated and GFN provides training, technical assistance, certification, and financial support.

“In many African countries, food banking is a new and not well-understood concept and it’s our job to bring food bankers together,” said Anthony Kitchen, senior director of field services and knowledge sharing at the Global FoodBanking Network. “Being in the same room as like-minded people who are having the same experiences in food banking builds a valuable sense of community and a shared purpose.”

Food bankers held discussions on product sourcing, fundraising, and best practices for food safety and storage, among other topics.

Food banking is a key model for reducing food loss and waste and fighting food insecurity in Africa, where nearly one in five people are undernourished. In 2022, African food banks in the Network served 1.4 million people and increased the kilograms of food distributed to 22 million, almost double the previous year.

The Africa Food Bank Conference was not confined to conference rooms. As part of the event, Food for All Africa led food bankers on field visits to some of their programs around

Accra. They visited the Agricultural Recovery Program to see how small-scale farmers donate surplus produce as well as the Agricultural Food Loss Recovery Warehouse where they observed how FFAA records, sorts, and stores food ready for distribution.

“I loved seeing the agricultural recovery program and meeting farmers who were happy to donate to improve their community,” said Oluwafunmilayo Oyegoke, the communications and family farming officer from the Lagos Food Bank Initiative (Nigeria). “It’s so cool to be at the conference and see the passion of other food bankers in Africa and understand that we have so much in common in our work.”

Finally, attendees saw the beneficiaries of the food recovery work at FFAA’s hot meals delivery program at a school in Accra.

“We have all emerged from the conference with so many ideas and so much energy to continue our work of feeding hungry people,” said Elijah Amoo Addo. “Because of events like this, we have built the connections to grow foodbanking across Africa.”

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