Food security and post-harvest agriculture

Most cereals consumed in SSA are produced by smallholders, with commercial imports accounting for roughly 25 per cent of the cereal consumption in the region and food aid for about 5 per cent. However, post-harvest losses of cereal grains in SSA are estimated to reach nearly four billion US dollars annually, which in cash terms, equates to wasting 15 per cent of SSA’s annual cereal production (World Bank et al., 2011). As yields are expected to decline and the value of harvested and traded commodities subsequently increases, the cost of not reducing these post-harvest losses also increases. Furthermore, in this scenario, where extra food has to be produced to compensate for losses due to ineffective post-harvest management, this is a waste of valuable resources. With Africa’s population projected to double to two billion people by 2050, and living standards and populations elsewhere also increasing, estimates suggest that global food production will need to increase by 70 per cent.