According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food loss and waste drains billions of shillings from the global economy every year, estimated to represent a third of the global food production.
About 40% of the food that reaches consumers is thrown away, and nearly 30% of harvested crops in sub-Saharan Africa go to waste with implications on environment, food security, small-scale farmers’ incomes and nutrition.
To address this, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) partnered with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to train Kenyan Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on all aspects of agricultural production with the aim of building capacity around nutrition sensitive production, January 12, 2022.
Speaking during the two-day workshop supported by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Mr. Robert Otundo from FAO said the project seeks to link SMEs to international organizations particularly from Japan.
Mr. Otundo stated that the training will respond to the SME needs based on the needs assessment survey that was conducted in order to build their capacity to address the challenges associated with post-harvest losses through value addition and linking them to markets.
The partnership, he added, aims to enhance the technical and institutional capacity of Food Science and Technology with the aim of integrating nutrition-sensitive food systems programmes. “This will in the long run increase the capacity on nutrition-sensitive food systems for selected SMEs in close collaboration with other partners,” said Mr. Otundo.
While appreciating FAO for selecting JKUAT to carry out the pilot project, Principal, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (COANRE) said stakeholders including the government, consumers and producers as well as businesses, have a role to play in addressing food loss and waste.
“We should create an enabling environment necessary to create solutions that address food loss and waste which includes, reducing instances where operations and practices are adopted to reduce food waste generation,” advised Prof Mburu.
He said this can be achieved by addressing food waste through value addition and conversion of the by-products to other food products such as animal feeds, recycling of food waste to generate green energy, and other products like organic fertilizers, adding that such practices will lead to a circular economy.”
Mr. Elijah Waititu a field extension officer from Kireita Dairies and one of the twenty training beneficiaries, lauded FAO for organizing such an important platform.
“In my company, will now be in a position to produce other products that we never produced since we now have the capacity to produce, manufacture and process and this will help in controlling food waste,” he said.
According to the Principal Invesitigator of project, Dr. Florence Kyallo, the SMEs will benefit from further training for the next two months.