Tackling Hunger from Both Sides

For every person promoting increased food production, another voice says, “We don’t need to grow more food; we already grow enough. What we need to do is tell people to stop wasting food.” Like most solutions in the development world, it’s complicated, and the answer is not often found in a single area.

When it comes to the food value chain, helping farmers get their crops to proper processing and storage facilities is just as imperative as increasing crop production. Farmers need to grow more food. The increasing population (of humans and animals) demands it. But growing more food does nothing if crops are lost because of improper processing and storage.

In Africa, unlike developed nations, food loss has little to do with the tomatoes not being “red enough” to sell at the supermarket. Much of the food loss in sub-Saharan countries, and other developing nations, stems from farmers not having access to good processing and storage facilities. When farmers are losing 35 percent of the crops they grow, farming families are missing out on thousands of nutritious calories – not to mention expected income. Unlike crop production, improving storage and processing access is a relatively straightforward solution. Recently, in fact, ACDI/VOCA and IFDC connected farmers to agricultural business centers. These places are “one-stop-shops” that offer farmers various services, from improved processing and storage facilities to fertilizer and other crop input supplies.

A strong chain needs all of its links, and to endure pressure, all these links need to be strong. We are strengthening these chains not only for ourselves but for the smallholders of the world, for our children and theirs and for the good of all who live on Earth.

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