ADDIS ABABA, April 1 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Monday urged African countries and institutions to exert concerted efforts in reducing post-harvest food loss so as to tackle Africa's current food insecurity.
"Africa has remained the most food insecure continent in the world, with approximately one in four people undernourished," the AU said in a statement on Monday, as it called for concerted efforts among countries and institutions towards modernizing Africa's food production scheme.
According to the pan African bloc AU, most African countries have over the years focused on increasing production to meet the food and nutrition needs of the ever rising population which is estimated to reach 2.5 billion by the year 2050.
But according to the AU, the value of food loss exceeds the annual value of grain imports into Africa.
"Historical over-emphasis on increased agricultural production without complementary interventions to ensure proper utilization of the food produced has contributed to the reported increase in post-harvest food loss and waste over the years," the statement read.
Global food losses and waste is estimated at 1.3 billion metric tonnes, equivalent to over 30 percent of the total food produced for human consumption, and it is estimated that global food wastage could feed up to 1.6 billion people annually, according to the AU.
The AU estimated the total quantitative food loss in the sub-Saharan Africa region alone to be over 100 million metric tonnes a year.
"These losses exacerbate food insecurity and have negative impacts on the environment through wasting precious land, water, farm inputs and energy used in producing food that is not consumed," the AU said.
Post-harvest losses also negatively affected the African farmers' income and contribute to higher food prices, according to the AU, which calls upon stakeholders to jointly contribute to the continental and global agenda of post-harvest loss reduction.