Food wastage occurs on a daily basis in Nigeria in different forms and dimensions, yet several thousands of Nigerians go to bed hungry in the midst of plenty. The food wastage situation in Nigeria is a little different from what is the case in other developed countries both in context and classification.
The food wastage situation could be categorized into two namely; wastage of raw or unprocessed foodstuff and, wastage of cooked or processed food.
Several hundreds of thousand tons of raw food materials like yam, cassava, maize, cocoyam, potatoes, plantain and so on are destroyed annually because of lack of preservation technology that could help preserve them in the season of harvest.
In the same vein, several millions of fruits like oranges, pineapples, cashews, tomatoes, pepper are allowed to rot away after each harvest season because the country lacks the technological knowhow of preserving food crops during the harvest seasons until the time they will be scarce and in higher demand.
The poor technological base of the country in the area of food preservation combines with the problem of poor road infrastructure or even non existence of mobility or easy access to the farm settlements to move the farm produce to the towns and cities where they are most needed.
During rainy season for example, many of the roads leading to the rural settlements where most of Nigeria’s food crops are grown are cut off and made impassable because of erosion. This makes it difficult for farmers to be able to transport their produce to the cities.
Wastage of raw or yet to be processed foodstuffs also occur in the homes of the rich who throw away spoilt foodstuffs like ‘garri’ (cassava flour), yam, ‘elubo’ (yam flour), and plantain away from time to time because they have more than they can eat stacked up in their kitchen stores. The same goes for packs of cereals, loaves of bread, packets of spaghetti and other packaged food that are thrown into the garbage every now and again.
In several homes all across the country, loads of cooked foods are thrown into the dustbins by those who have enough to eat while hundreds of less privileged Nigerians go to bed hungry on a daily basis.
Apart from the homes of the rich and the comfortable, a great chunk of food is wasted daily in the hotels all across the country. In most of these hotels, bags of excess food are packed and sold to dog owners who signed up for such food while helpless human beings go to bed hungry.
Although it is difficult to determine the amount of food wasted in Nigeria annually, it is a fact that several hundreds of tons of food processed and yet to be processed are lost annually nationwide. For a nation with this level of waste, the THINKEATSAVE campaign is a stitch in time.
Contributor: Olanrewaju Osho (Inspire Nigeria) http://www.inspiringnigeria.net/index.html