A critical look at many developing countries and emerging economies reveals that we are currently experiencing what Food and Agricultural Organisation calls Nutrition Transition.
Over 60% of the population are youths. That means lifestyles are becoming more urban, disposable income is increasing with foods and drinks becoming more instant, and energy-dense and diets containing more instant processed foods, sugar, fats and animal products.
The result is a triple burden of food security. While a part of the population does not have enough of what to eat, another part is either malnourished, undernourished and deficient of essential nutrients, while others are overweight.
The current approach of focusing on the primary production, especially at the farm level, may not sufficiently curb food insecurity in Africa. About 2 of every 5 foods produced from the farm never make their way to the dining table, as they are little or no value-addition to the produced food.
What are my recommendations?
Equal attention should be given to post Harvest Technology as much as the production technology. Investment should be made on the standard storage, transportation and logistics systems. Value addition should also be encouraged and greatly regulated to ensure that processed foods are not completely deficient of the essential micro nutrients.
Fresh food consumption should be encouraged and made readily available, accessible and affordable by developing our cold chain systems to ensure quality food from the point of harvest to the retail outlets.
This is a massive opportunity for private sector investment. If we must achieve zero hunger by 2030, the role of private sectors cannot be over emphasized.