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Ugandan Company Leads Fight Against Food Wastage

Bringo Fresh, a Ugandan company has announced a continent wide campaign to curb food wastage.

According Brian Matsiko, the CEO of Bringo Fresh their aim is to foster food security in the country. They have developed an App that helps deliver food in the quantities needed and in the shortest time possible.

Food security means that all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (World Food Summit, 1996), Matsiko explained.

He added that by supporting platforms like Bringo Fresh, people eliminate the food wastage caused by post-harvest losses as they are supporting all the farmers in the food chain.

 “By supporting companies and solutions like Bringo Fresh which bridge the gap between the farmers and the consumers as food is not just wasted at the end of the food path by consumers but also on the farms through post-harvest loss. Post-harvest losses have significant nutritional, health, and financial impacts for both consumers and farmers, disproportionately affecting women, who are largely responsible for managing post-harvest drying, cleaning, and storage,” Matsiko said.

He added: “For rural families, many of whom already live on the edge of hunger, lost food means lost land, water, fertilizer and income for those who can least afford it. With a fresh food delivery service such as Bringo Fresh, you can easily order only what you need on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.”

He added that the food security has a global and long term element to it, considering that there will be nine billion (9Bn) people to feed in the world by 2050 and it can be targeted at national, local and even individual level.  Food is lost or wasted throughout various stages of the food supply chain.

During agricultural production and harvest, crops can become damaged or spilled, animals may die due to diseases, fish may be discarded during fishing and milk could be lost due to cattle diseases. Crops, animals, fish or milk may be lost during post-harvest handling, storage and in transportation.

During processing, food may be lost or degraded during washing, peeling, slicing, canning, packaging etc.; or during slaughtering, smoking, freezing or pasteurising.

 During distribution, food may be lost or wasted during transport or expiry at wholesale markets, supermarkets, retailers, etc. Finally, consumers may waste food by simply throwing it away.

The United Nations estimates that one in nine people in the world do not have access to sufficient food to lead a healthy life. More people are reported to die from hunger every day than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. But at the same time, nearly one-third of the food that is produced in the world is lost or wasted due to one reason or the other. Food wastage, which includes both food loss and food waste, is not only morally irresponsible, but also causes huge economic losses as well as severe damage to the world around us.

The FAO estimates that roughly one-third of the edible portions of food produced for human consumption gets lost or is wasted globally, which is about 1.3 billion tons per year. The value of food lost or wasted annually at the global level is estimated at US$1 trillion. Yet reliable numbers on specific numbers of wastage are not documented.

In Kampala city, solid waste is managed by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) in collaboration with private companies. Available information shows that each household in Kampala generates approximately between 0.5kg and 1.1kg per capita of solid waste per day. Going by Kampala’s population estimated at 1.5 million (UBOS), it is predicted that about 750,000kg or 750 tonnes of waste are generated in Kampala per day.

However, on average, only 50% (375 tonnes of waste) is collected by KCCA and private companies per day. KCCA acknowledges that the amount of solid waste generated overwhelms its capacity to collect and dispose of due to financial and technical challenges (Water Aid, 2011).

The urban solid waste composition is 37.8% (food waste), 33.6% (yard wastes), 6.7% (paper), 0.8% (metals), 7.8% (plastics), 8.6% (stones & debris),1.3% (textiles), 0.7% (glasses) and 2.7 (miscellaneous) which is typical of the East African urban areas.

As part of its efforts to support smallholder farmers and agricultural markets, WFP is strongly promoting a greater focus on reducing food losses throughout the value chain.

WFP had developed an initiative in Uganda called “Zero Food Loss”, combining training & airtight storage to tackle high-levels of post-harvest loss.

Under the “Zero Food Loss” initiative, this effective, scalable, and replicable model tested in Uganda continues to create demand from other countries. 18 developing countries have already visited Uganda to learn about the “Uganda Model”, with nine beginning their own rollouts of post-harvest loss national programs.

By Drake Nyamugabwa

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