In a piece for The New York Times, Special Reporting Initiative Fellow Rachel Cernansky explores how food waste undermines African economies and potential solutions.
Last year, Tanzania had exciting news: a bumper harvest of corn. But even as farmers were celebrating — corn is a staple eaten at almost every meal — much of the crop had already been spoiled, having grown moldy or been infested by insects and rodents. The problem was that farmers lacked the capacity to store food safely. Even the government’s national reserve system had run out of space to hold the overflow.
Such shortages of capacity persist, and not just in Tanzania. The Food and Agriculture Organization reports that largely because of a lack of infrastructure for refrigeration, transportation and sanitary, airtight storage, 15 to 20 percent of grain crops in sub-Saharan Africa and about half of fruits and vegetables show spoilage before they reach market.
Read her full piece at Wasting Less of Africa’s Harvest in Order to Prosper.