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Africa wastes 1.3bn tons of food annually - Commissioner

By The Citizen
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Mr Clement Agba, the Edo Commissioner for Environment, on Tuesday saidĀ  that over 1.3billion tons of food produced annually in sub-Saharan Africa was wasted.

Agba stated this during the 2013 World Environment Day in Benin adding that the impact of food wastage had many consequences which went beyond financial.

'Besides this, 20,000 children under the age of five are dying daily of hunger, a development which puts enormous strain on natural resources and creates negative environmental impacts,' he said.

The commissioner noted that environmentally food wastage led to wasteful use of chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides and fuel used for production.

HeĀ  said food loss and waste also amounted to major squandering of resources including water, land, energy, labour, and capital and needlessly produced greenhouse emissions which contributed to global warming.

'Rotten food has a great ozone depleting consequence as a major source of methane, which is one of the world's most harmful greenhouse gases, as it is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

'If food is wasted it means that all resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost.

'For example, it takes 1,000 litres of water to produce a litre of milk.

'The resulting greenhouse gas emissions from the cows and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food,' he added

Agba said that government had invested massively in the reconstruction of over 500 kilometres of intra-state roads in Edo since 2008.

He said this was in addition to several capacity building programmes to support farmers and to strengthen the supply chain in the area of food packaging and storage to reduce food loss and waste. (NAN)