Every year, too much of fresh produce goes to waste. Perishables with a short shelf life such as tomatoes, green leafy vegetables and even fresh meats are thrown out and this wastage is not only wrong, it’s also demotivating to the farmers and food producers.
There is need for us to merge ideas and resources and utilize this wastage turning it into a whole other industry; the value add industry. Farmers need information on how to bulk dry and store these products. More training should be done for them to start small scale and grow on their own. Tomatoes can be dried up, spiced and stored in healthy oils to make good kitchen additions. Same thing can be done with onions, capsicums, courgettes, cucumbers and all fruits and veggies you can think of. This is an industry that needs to be tapped into.
Funding – not in the form of handouts, should be poured in to enable farmers buy the necessary equipment. There is so much money in value addition since fresh produce fetch lower margins. The same produce when dried up and preserved well in jars can fetch up to 10 times more. So financially, this is the way to go. There are several budding companies and start-ups in Kenya and Africa that are currently involved in doing this but not to their full potential. This is the present and future and it’ll greatly help reduce wastage and starvation even in challenged areas that rely on food relief.
More can be done with produce that is normally used as compost and manure or just thrown as waste.