Food safety is key to improving health and nutrition outcomes in Africa

African countries must strengthen their food safety. Photo: RFI

NEWSROOM (ADV) – African countries need to make additional investments in food safety to boost the nutritional status of citizens and fight the ills of contamination of key staple foods, a medical report released in Nairobi said.

The Global Partnership on Food Safety report found that Africa had the highest rate of food contamination in the world and that this was responsible for the estimated $ 16.7 billion in human capital losses.

“More than half of donor-funded food security initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are focused on foreign markets, and less than half on domestic consumers,” the report says.

He notes that development spending should aim to improve the food security of African consumers, who need more information and awareness to be able to demand higher standards.

The report calls for more investment in programs that focus on health risks, such as salmonella, that local consumers face when buying in informal markets.

“It is unfortunate that less than five percent of donor investment is in local health risks. Yet, more than 500 projects and activities in sub-Saharan Africa have focused on food security for exports since 2010, “the report says.

Juergen Voegele, Senior Director of World Food and Agriculture Practice at the World Bank, said food security is essential to the long-term well-being of Africa and its people.

“It is time to examine what the international donor community is doing to help address these challenges and how donors, governments, the private sector and consumers can work together to strengthen the food safety system in Africa” said Mr Voegele.

Louise Scura, Chair of the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership for Food Safety, noted that the development community is beginning to accept that there will be no food security and that development goals will not be achieved without security food.

Scura called for more investment in food security for African consumers, alignment of aid from the development community to food security, and greater emphasis on reducing the burden of disease in Africa.

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