Would there be enough food to eat in the coming years?Do you ever wonder if we will have enough food to eat in the coming years? Many people in the world currently do not have enough to eat; how will the food situation be a few years from now? Better or worse? Think about it for a second. 🤔

One-third of food grown yearly is wasted due to post-harvest losses, according to the FAO. In Nigeria in the year 2022, post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables are as high as 50-60% according to the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development. Generally, annual post-harvest losses in Nigeria are estimated to be as high as 3.5 trillion naira.

These numbers are a threat to achieving food security as a nation. One of the proven measures to reduce post-harvest losses and make agriculture more financially beneficial to farmers is through agro-produce processing and preservation.

What is food processing and preservation?

I will say that it is the conversion or transformation of agro-produce into different forms using a method or combination of methods to increase shelf-life by slowing down microbial growth and obtaining more varieties of agro-produce.

Processing and preservation should not be seen as “bad”. Yes, it’s great to eat food fresh from the farm. But everyone in different parts of the world won’t have the opportunity to eat it fresh from the farm 365 days a year. Without processing and preservation, it would be impossible to transport agro-produce from one country to another in a wholesome state and that is already a limitation to the varieties of food we can have on our plates.

The simple process of drying grains such as corn and milling subsequently to get corn flour is processing and preservation in play. By drying, you’re reducing the content of moisture (water) that would have supported the growth of microorganisms, which will lead to spoilage. This is a preservation strategy. By milling, you’re converting the corn grains to flour. This is a processing strategy. The flour can in turn be used as an input raw material for use at home or in the industry as an ingredient for manufacturing different foods such as your favorite breakfast cereals.

Individuals, farmers, and agriculture entrepreneurs should be encouraged to adopt processing and preservation as a measure to prevent food loss and wastage. We all have a role to play to facilitate food security in our nation and the world at large. Shout out to Let’s Talk Agriculture – a PR Company founded by Sharon Idahosa for their great efforts to promote the agriculture business through public relations, podcasts, and advertising. We need more agriculture-focused businesses like this. Please visit their website www.letstalkagriculture.com for more information.

As the first newsletter of the year 2023, I’ll like to use this opportunity to say a happy and prosperous new year to you, my dear reader. Please do well to subscribe if you haven’t already and feel free to REPOST to your network. Have a lovely day!

Written & edited by: Chidinma Ezinne Ochulor, MIFST, MNIFST

Chidinma Ezinne Ochulor is a Food Scientist & Technologist working as a food safety and quality professional in the Nigerian food manufacturing industry.