Expert Decries Food Waste From Social Parties In Nigeria | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Agriculture, Business

Expert Decries Food Waste From Social Parties In Nigeria

Posted: Jul 10, 2015 at 12:23 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

•  As UN Agency Moves To Cut Waste

By Oyeniran Apata,  Lagos


The growing concern about food secured or unsecured in the world today has given rise to experts, international agencies, institutions and stakeholders in the food supply chain to sentise the world on the danger this trend poses to the human race.

Virginia Woolf in a write up once said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. Furthermore, a Yoruba adage says, “With that availability of food, poverty and Hunger Diminishes.”

Though food loss and waste is not a recent concern, a report of the 2012 Global Hunger Index summarized the world food situation thus: “It is increasingly clear that sustainable feeding 9 billion people the projected world population in 2050 who will consume at the rate of 12 billion people, if they follow the current consumption pattern of industrialised countries, will require a much more careful and integrated approach to the use of land, water, and energy that we currently apply.”



Thus, the rising trend has continued to attract the attentions of restaurants and food and beverage stores worldwide as well as local authorities that have raised alarm on the stem down food waste and loss in our respective local environment.

As the Holy month of Ramadan winds down next week, Nigerians, especially of the south West origin, will begin the celebrations of all manners of social events: marriages, birthdays, house warming ceremonies, coronation ceremonies, child naming and dedication events that are sources of huge food loss almost through the rest of the year.

Speaking during her inaugural lecture marking the 8th in the series organised by the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) in 2015, a Chief Lecturer in Food and Agriculture at the college, Mrs. Idiat Amusu in the lecture tagged, “Reverse Engineering: Panacea To Waste Not Want Not” recently, defined food waste/ loss as food of good quality and fit for consumption, but does not get to the table before it is disposed.

According to her, “Food loss is the food that spills, spoils, incurs an abnormal reduction in quantity such as bruising or wilting, or otherwise gets lost before it reaches the consumers. The phenomenon called food loss manifest sadly from the production, storage, processing and distribution stages in the food value chain. It also manifest due to agricultural process or technical limitation in storage, infrastructure, packaging and or marketing.

Lamenting on food waste, she said this does not only occur or take place at the retail and consumption stages in the food value chain, but also embrace excess home purchases, improper home storage , societal show of affluence .

Making reference to Ketu Mile 12 and Idi-oro markets in Lagos State, the lecturer said people and traders in the markets consciously and out of negligence throw foods away.

Submitting that food waste is about the same in both medium and high income countries, she stated that in the low income where it occurs from harvest to table, it is more than 40 per cent, and in the medium and high income countries, the loss occurs at the tail end of the food journey.

Emphasising that food waste was a global phenomenon, she pointed out that food loss occurs more often in developing countries, and stressed that in Nigeria, the issue of food waste was becoming a great concern.

“In Nigeria, the issue of food waste is becoming of great concern, with our life style of elaborate parties of elaborate parties and show of affluence by the rich in the society.

“I observed that the amount of food waste in a weekend in Lagos State from parties is enough to feed the State for a month”, she said.

She, however, noted that channeling waste which is up to 50 per cent of farm produce  along the food chain in Nigeria to feed the factories can reduce wastage and improve the shelf life of the farm produce, but it will increase economic gains of those involved in the food supply chain particularly  the farmers who till the grounds.

“In addition to increasing food production, we need to develop the equipment for adequate processing and production in order to reduce hunger and become secure nation. Sure, one and tested procedure that has elevated countries from not relevant to extremely relevant is to focus on the development of all relevant machinery and equipment that can kick-start our industries”, she suggested.

The lecturer also advocate for a restructuring of the Mechanical Engineering programme in institutions to include computer aided manufacturing and also to introduce a course called Food losses and Waste, extent, cause and prevention in the department of food technology in order to put the issue of food security and hunger in the right perspective.

“Furthermore to increase the consciousness of food security, everybody must appreciate the impact of food waste on the poverty status of the populace, I hereby advocate that the college include a course called food security and poverty alleviation in the General Studies programme to be taken by both Science and none Science students”, she suggested.

Speaking on population dynamics and food security, Amusu lamented that Nigeria, with a land area measuring 91, with a vast 83 per cent of the land available for cultivation still occupied the 80th position on the food security index among 105 countries on affordability, availability and quality of the Global Food Security Index.

Sounding on a pessimistic note on the agricultural population that is dwindling, she added, “It is estimated that by 2020, the farming population will have reduced to 18 per cent from 23.4 per cent obviously, we are food insecure and hungry.”

Also, within the week, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, announced a partnership with Autogrill, the multinational food and beverage provider best known for its full-service highway rest stops and airport eateries, to cut food waste and introduce products of small-scale farmers in developing countries.

“Under the three-year agreement, FAO will provide Autogrill with tools to track and reduce food losses and waste across its more than 4,000 stores and design information materials and campaigns to raise awareness among Autogrill customers worldwide about waste reduction,” the Rome-based UN agency said.

FAO said it is estimated that roughly one third of the food produced globally for human consumption; approximately 1.3 billion tons every year is lost or wasted.

The Italian-based chain, Autogrill, which operates mainly in Europe and North America, is the latest to sign on to the Save Food global initiative spearheaded by FAO to involve a wide range of actors along the food chain in common strategies to cut food loss and waste.

“This is a new type of public-private partnership for FAO which could become a model for collaborations with other retailers in future,” said Eugenia Serova, FAO’s Director of the Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries Division.

In addition to tracking and reducing waste, the restaurant chain will also pay attention to the sourcing of its products, in the framework of their corporate social responsibility.

FAO, which has been working with farming cooperatives and producer organisations worldwide to improve small producers’ livelihoods, will help Autogrill identify products and small-scale farmers interested in supplying the global retailer as a way to open new markets to southern producers.

In the final analysis, Amusu submitted, “Imagine a new generation of Nigerian male and female farmers who choose what to grow next season after checking domestic and international market trends online, using appropriate technology and machinery even on medium sized farms. All these are achievable if we follow the steps of the Asian tigers reverse engineering.”