• Tom Norring (middle), Danish Ambassador to Ghana, speaking with some journalists
• Tom Norring (middle), Danish Ambassador to Ghana, speaking with some journalists

Speakers urge need to address food loss, waste

Speakers at a seminar on food security have called for urgent action by the government and other stakeholders to address the phenomenon of food loss and waste in the country.

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They said food loss and waste remained the biggest threat to food security and sustainable development, as they deprived farmers of the value of their labour and robbed the government of the needed revenue.

Those who made the call are the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Tom Norring; the Director of Crop Science at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Solomon Gyan Ansah, and the Project Manager of Food Nation, a Danish agricultural sector think tank, Christiana Tonner Jensen.

In separate statements, they stressed the need for deliberate investment, through stronger partnerships, to curb loss and waste in the food sector because they had dire consequences on the global climate crisis.

The seminar was organised by the Embassy of Denmark in Ghana to discuss how the loss and waste in the food value chain could be turned into value through partnerships, technology transfer and innovation.

Participants at the seminar were drawn from state institutions, the private sector, civil society organisations (CSOs) and stakeholders in the agribusiness sector. 

Context

The seminar was organised within the context that one-third of food produced globally, translating into 1.6 billion tonnes, is lost or wasted.

The food lost and wasted is worth $1.3 trillion.

Per global estimates, loss and waste in the food sector account for eight per cent of greenhouse emissions worldwide.  

For Ghana, MoFA estimates that 1.4 million tonnes of food is either lost or wasted along the value chain.

The MoFA figures show that 50 per cent of fruits produced in the country are lost or wasted, while 40 and 20 per cent losses occur among vegetables and tuber crops, respectively. 

Against that backdrop, Mr Norring said it was critical for Ghana to make deliberate investment in the food value chain to address food loss and waste.

He said that could be done through stronger partnership at the local and international levels to address the triggers of those losses.

"There is always a cost behind every investment, but the cost of not doing anything is even more costly," he said.

He added that investment in infrastructure and technologies to address loss and waste in the food value chain was important because apart from its huge impact on climate change, it also had negative impacts on the national economy.
 

Climate impact

For her part, Ms Jensen said given that food loss and waste had dire consequences on food security and the climate crisis, reducing them must be treated as a matter of national priority.

"If food loss and waste were a country, it would be contributing eight per cent of the global CO2 emissions, making it the third largest greenhouse emitter; and this is why every step must be taken to reduce them," she said.

She observed that the sustainable way to address loss and waste in the food sector was for the public sector to collaborate with business entities in the agricultural value chain, scientists and innovators. 

Touching on the situation in the country, Dr Ansah said loss and waste occurred in the food sector because of poor value addition, poor transportation network, inadequate storage facilities, price fluctuations and lack of a ready market for food produced by farmers.

He said it was in a bid to address some of those challenges that the government rolled out programmes such as the construction of warehouses and the One-district, One-factory (1D1F) initiative and established the National Buffer Stock Company. 

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