So I was asked to give a writeup on “Food wastage in Nigeria and how it could be reduced”, but I wrote on this instead and though it’s yet to be accepted by whom it was demanded, I can’t just keep this information to myself anymore.
So talking about food wastage in Nigeria, yeah Nigeria (cos though I’m concerned about the world, I’m more concerned about my motherland). So to the gist at hand;
80% of foods produced in Nigeria is wasted due to post harvest loses (no be me talk am oooo….na Professor Stella Williams). According to UNEP and the World Resource Institute (WRI), about one third of all food produced worldwide gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption system and Nigeria is not excluded as we lack postharvest practices and control over our unhealthy food practices. Just to buttress these points, I’d like to use a typical tomato market and mango field as a case study (Nigerians should relate better).
A typical tomato market has its floors littered with mashed tomatoes, and some close to rotten tomatoes all over the place. Mango fields are the most littered places during its season, you find lots of mangos on the floor with no one to pick them up. These later rots and end up being packed into the bin. This cycle amongst others is one that repeats itself over and over again. And to crown it all up, we (the consumers), derive great joy in scrapping our plates into the bin (yeah, I know I’m guilty too). Lack of post-harvest practices and lack of control over our unhealthy food practices are the two main causes of food loss in Nigeria.
Well the question still remains, “How can it be solved?” Food loss can be solved by encouraging the use of the 3 Rs’ (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle).
Let’s reduce the rate at which we scrape foods off of our plates (don’t take more than you can chew) and also lets shop wisely (don’t buy what you don’t need). The farmers and sellers should be provided with modern techniques of preserving perishable farm products which include; better harvesting, storage, packaging, transport, infrastructure, market mechanisms, thus reducing post-harvest loses.
Let’s encourage food reuse culture, afterwards leftover foods can be eaten once preserved well through proper storage. For example, storing fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator can help retain its freshness.
Foods like yam, cassava, pineapple, vegetables, and pepper amongst others can be recycled by replanting or by processing into other products. Every home should be encouraged to cultivate its own little garden, that way instead of wasting we can regrow.
In summary, food wastage is a virus that has been in the world’s system for a long time, it has been crippling some world’s economy (like Nigeria) and at large resulted in food insecurity, but it can be killed by reducing, reusing and recycling.