Improving food packaging for Small and Medium Agro-Enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa
27 April 2016, Accra – FAO Regional Office for Africa and the Ghanaian Ministry of Trade and Industry have launched a new regional project on improving food packaging for the small and medium agro-enterprise sector in ten countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia). The three year-project is jointly managed by FAO, the International Trade Centre (ITC), and funded by IMA S.p.A.
IMA is a partner in FAO’s Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, otherwise known as the SAVE FOOD Initiative, and committed to sponsoring SAVE FOOD activities related to food packaging. Other partners include the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in East and West Africa. The magnitude and complexity of Food Loss and Waste issues require multifaceted solutions involving all food chain actors and other stakeholders (public, civil society, private sector and supporting organizations) to achieve meaningful reduction.
“In most Sub-Saharan African countries, poor packaging is one of the main reasons for the failure of locally manufactured food products to compete favourably with imported ones”, deplored Hon. Spio Garbrah, Ghanaian Minister for Trade and Industry at the signing ceremony of the FAO-Government Cooperation Programme. He stated that his Government recognizes the essence of packaging in the roll-out of the National Export Strategy and the success of the Made-in-Ghana campaign. The project aims to provide guidance to food chain actors and stakeholders in the region (governments and private sector entities) on appropriate food packaging systems including food packaging material, equipment, technologies, knowledge, regulation, services and practices. “Mitigating the packaging constraints that affect small and medium agro-enterprisesin Sub-Saharan Africa can contribute to strengthening the entire food chain and improve the competitiveness and food security for the benefit of all food chain actors and other stakeholders”, declared Dr Abebe Haile Gabriel, the Deputy Regional Representative for Africa and FAO Representative to Ghana.
According to IMA’s CEO, Alberto Vacchi, IMA’s contribution fits into FAO’s strategy to create partnerships with the private sector to support multilateral cooperation projects. IMA considers the importance of food, and reduction of food losses, as a crucial issue and as a responsibility towards civil society. Today’s partners agreed that poor packaging is a major contributing factor to low patronage of local food products and makes local products uncompetitive with imports. Strengthening food packaging systems is one of the most appropriate solutions to food loss and waste reduction, particularly in Africa and developing countries where suitable packaging, particularly for the small and medium agro-enterprise sector, is often lacking for both fresh and processed foods.
FAO is committed to enabling inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems and contributing to the Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction Umbrella Programme composed of a number of projects and programmes including a strong partnership with the private sector under the SAVE FOOD Initiative.