One of the biggest disincentiveÂ toÂ food production in the agricultural industry pertains to post-harvest losses. Whilst considerable inputs are beingÂ investedÂ byÂ stakeholders to increase production and reduce food loss and food waste, report from the FAO-World Bank, 2010, suggests that one third of the food produced globally get lost or wasted. This represents a loss of 1.3 billion tons of food per year which translates into over 870 million people going hungry.
The issue of post-harvest loss and waste are not uncommon in Ghana. As theseÂ perennial problems massively affect our food and agriculture economy, a Â reportÂ in 2014,Â suggests a 55%Â waste ofÂ plantain (Musa paradisiaca)Â in the Asante Akyem Agogo area in the Ashanti region. Information suggest that not only does the produce faceÂ Â post-harvest logistical challenges, it also lacks sustainable processing and storage facilities.
Similarly, Cassava (Manihot esculenta), an extremely resilient crop that grows well on a marginal land also experience similar challenge. Research indicates that cassava offers about 22% to Ghanaâ€™s agricultural GDP. This plant has the ability to be mono-cropped or inter-cropped and womenâ€™s participation has been noted to be very phenomenal. In Nigeria, food loss and food waste is also a challenge in the agricultural industry. For instance, with a 16th position in the total world tomato production, a disturbing 45% of the harvested product goes into loss through the Food Supply Chain (FSC) mismanagement.
Due to these food production challenges, there is no gain-saying the fact that the need for a Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is imminent in this era where global agricultural activities are being saddled byÂ unprecedentedÂ Â issues with climate change. CSAâ€™s is aimed towards safeguarding food through the implementation of strategic measures to mitigateÂ activities that affect our agricultural practices as a result ofÂ climate irregularities.
Hence, asÂ food is supposedÂ to beÂ available, accessible and affordable, issues withÂ food securityÂ have drawn much attention from the various industry stakeholders. Food security according to research is the situation where everybody at every time is supposed to have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food for a healthy and active life. Therefore strategies for the development and safeguard of food calls for a renewed and more innovative frameworks to oppose the effect of climate irregularities.
With an anticipated population to grow at 9 billion by 2050, there are predictions that demand for food will increase.Â With such an anticipated population growth, attention would be drawn on food availability and its sustainability to meet the needed demand and dietary needs. Hence, food availability and the satisfaction of its dietary needs are important for the avoidance of issues of under-nutrition, malnutrition and micro-nutrition.
Due to this, research over the past years by research institutions such as IITA, AVRDC, Bioversity International, CIAT, CIP, FARA, icipe, ICRAF, IITA, ILRI, IWMI, and WUR dwells on programs that are envisioned to promote food security and its sustainability, protect the environment and also transform the poor farmerâ€™s economic situations.
In as much as most research institutions Â Â and stakeholders are working assiduously on the farm to fork strategies,Â research, however,Â indicates that there is enough food to feed everyone on this planet but the issue lies withÂ how to minimize and avoid waste. Food waste and food loss does not only amount to a huge consumption of the worldâ€™s resources, it also deprives the earth of resources such as water, land, energy, labor , capital et cetera. In sum, they extract and compromise on the resources of today and that of the future generation. In view of these, the present and future business models on food production must be modelled underÂ life-cycle models where the economic structures keep products in a continuous closed-loop management systems with the purpose of upcycling as oppose to the take-make-dispose-waste culture.