In Summary
  • Countries lose about 30 per cent of post-harvest food, an equivalent amount in production of inputs such as seeds and fertilisers.
  • Kenya has taken steps to manage post-harvest loss with hermetic bags, and silos to safeguard food from pests and environmental damage.

The drought affecting over three million Kenyans raises pertinent questions on the country’s ability to feed all citizens.

The country enjoys favourable weather, and the statistics certainly support the case for food sufficiency.

Agriculture accounts for 25 per cent of the GDP, employing over 70 per cent of the population, and utilising half of the 15 per cent arable land for crop production.

The challenge, however, is heavy reliance on weather for food production, making the country vulnerable to unpredictable weather.

Until we invest substantively in irrigation for sustained food supply, reducing post-harvest loss by efficiently managing the current production capacity, will guarantee citizens sufficient food throughout the year.

Expanding crop cultivation, and other pre-harvest initiatives only result in more unmanageable produce.

For a country whose 75 per cent of basic food comes from cereals and pulses, food inadequacy is exacerbated by overreliance on cereals such as maize, while overlooking other nutritious, and climate-resilient indigenous produce such as sorghum, millet, cassava, and cowpeas.

Diversifying consumer palates will expand food options.

Countries lose about 30 per cent of post-harvest food, an equivalent amount in production of inputs such as seeds and fertilisers.

Developing countries lose most food after harvest due to poor infrastructure and technology, pests, extreme weather, and poor handling, storage and distribution.

INTERVENTIONS

Industrialised countries waste food — primarily fruits and vegetables — at retail and consumer levels due to fussiness over aesthetically imperfect foods and expiration dates.

Curbing losses advances food security, and the benefit is a healthy populace.

It also promotes efficiency in feeding growing populations within limited land, water, and energy resources.

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