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3 Problems Facing the Food Supply Chain

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A food supply chain is the journey food takes from where it’s grown to where it’s consumed. Typically, the chain is made up of six processes:

  • Assembling raw materials.
  • Production.
  • Processing (Branding and packaging).
  • Storage.
  • Distribution (wholesale and retail).
  • Consumption.

These different processes are handled by various key players in the food supply chain such as farmers, manufacturers, distributors and others.

If there is an error during any of these stages, the final product could be affected and the consumer might end up taking food that is below safety standards.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1 in 10 people fall sick every year from eating contaminated food. Therefore a problem in the supply system might be detrimental to one’s health.

Below are three problems facing the food supply chain and some suggested solutions:

1. Lack of Traceability:

Nowadays, many people are curious about the origin of their food. For instance, a lot of people like to know the exact ingredients that constitute their meals to be sure it meets up with their diet plans/dietary intake.

In 2012, a study in Europe revealed that 70% of consumers consider the origin of their food as an important factor when purchasing it. Food traceability is important because it has three key benefits:

  • It improves quality control.
  • It increases supply chain visibility.
  • It reduces risk.

Nonetheless, the food supply system is still not as traceable as consumers would like it to be.

Also Read Interview With Sanne Steemers, A Dutch Chocolate Entrepreneur Connecting Europe And Africa

Solution:

Keeping a record of the food journey from production to consumption not only helps companies guarantee the authenticity of their products but also helps suppliers spot and react quickly when issues arise.

It also helps companies to build their customer base, loyalty, brand, and can be a saving grace in the events of legal issues.

Some practical ways to increase food traceability is by:

  • Implementing tracking systems and software.
  • Creating alert systems to notify key players when things go wrong.
  • Communicating with the customers.

2. Poor Storage and Transport:

Poor storage and transport is one of the biggest problems in agriculture and it often leads to food wastage. In the food supply chain, the problem also affects the quality of food.

If any of the key players compromise food quality and they don’t detect it early, the consumer can end up eating this unsafe food.

The goal is to produce and distribute high quality products that are safe for consumption and there are some practical measures that can be taken towards achieving this.

Solution:

If you compromise one step, you will one step is jeopardized, it will compromise the entire process. To solve this problem, the first step is to select the best raw materials and use the right production method to see the process through.

Use adequate storage equipment to store feed in order to keep it fresh and healthy. Also, when branding and packaging the food, manufacturers should do it in a way that they preserve the freshness and safety of the food.

3. Lack of Trust and Communication Between Key Players:

No chain can function well if there is ineffective communication between key players. Improper communication causes a rift in the food supply chain.

Nearly every food item passes through many hands before it gets to the final consumer. It is sometimes hard to keep track of all the people involved in food production.

For instance, a plate of salad consists of different vegetables. Each of these vegetables (cabbage, lettuce, spinach) were planted in different places and go through various hands in order to get to the consumer’s plate.

Solution:

Thankfully, technology has made it easier to communicate. To encourage transparency and increase effectiveness in the food supply chain, there should be a clear channel of communication among the key players.

What other problems can be encountered in the food supply chain? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Agriculture

Farmcrowdy Now In Niger State with 1000 Farmers

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Farmcrowdy began with a goal to empower rural farmers across Africa and we are doing so one Nigerian state at a time. We have currently empowered rural farmers in 15 states, with Niger state being the latest addition in our operations. Here are some noteworthy facts about Niger state:

  1. Niger state is the largest state in Nigeria, bigger than ten states combined. Mashegu LGA in Niger state is bigger than Lagos and Anambra state combined.
  2. It is located in the middle belt region of the country with a population of over 4 million.
  3. Niger state consists of two major ethnic groups; the Gbagyi and Nupe.
  4. Niger state is Known as the Power State because it houses two of Nigeria’s hydroelectric dam, Kainji Dam (the largest electricity generating dam) and Shiroro dam.
  5. One of the longest rivers in Africa, River Niger, is located in this state.

Another interesting fact to note about Niger state is that the major occupation of the people is farming and fishing.

We are going to empower 1000 rural farmers of Niger state through our rice farm project. This farm, will however be different from other farms as we will be adopting the dry season farming approach for this particular project.

One of the best ways to improve food security in a nation is to ensure the availability of food all year round. However, factors such as limited rainfall lead to poor crop yield and food shortage. Therefore, one of the best ways to meet food demand with supply in spite of the unpredictability of rain, is by changing strategy and adopting this new approach.

This simply means that our rice farms will not be dependent on rain as a source of water. Therefore, in instances when it doesn’t rain or it doesn’t rain enough, the rice farms will still be catered for.  Dry season farming is not limited to dry season alone. It can also be adapted in cases where a farmer doesn’t want to be dependent on rain for irrigation.

We are determined to increase food production and security in Nigeria and expanding to a new state with dry season farming brings us a step closer. It ensures food availability and better pricing all year long. The dry season farming method will enable our farmers plant rice all year long, thus increasing rice production and reducing rice importation.

Also Read Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

The farmers we are working with in Niger state will also be provided adequate funding and training to get the highest yield by harvest time.

Click here to start sponsoring our rice farms. When you sponsor a farm, you will receive updates during the farm cycle and returns after harvest on your sponsorship. You will also be empowering rural farmers to receive adequate input, support, and training needed to cultivate crops and make money to support themselves.

You will ultimately be contributing to the agricultural landscape in Nigeria.

Uduak Ekong/Farmcrowdy

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Agriculture

Malawi: The African Development Bank approves $13.2 million for sustainable fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management

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The African Development Bank Group has approved a $13.2 million financing package from the African Development Fund for a fisheries and aquaculture development project in Malawi. The Sustainable Fisheries, Aquaculture Development, and Watershed Management project will provide infrastructure for increased fisheries productivity and market access. Board approval for the project was granted on 2 October 2019. The project is expected to contribute to nutritious diets, boost employment along the fish value chain, and build climate resilience along major watersheds.

The project’s estimated cost is $14.57 million, comprising an ADF loan of $8.98 million, a grant of $4.21 million. The Malawi government will contribute $1.38 million.

The project is expected to directly benefit 20,000 residents around the surrounding lakeshore and inland areas, as well as 250,000 fish processors, vendors, retailers, and interns, many of whom are youth and women along the value chain.

The project interventions will cover 11 lakeshore and three non-lakeshore districts, including the entire basins of Lake Malawi and Chilwa, part of the Shire River system, and selected upland areas using an ecosystem approach. Seventy-five percent of transboundary watersheds are in Malawi and they are critical fish breeding and nursery grounds.

Other expected benefits include sustained income from fisheries; increased recovery of Chambo stocks and higher incomes from value addition (processing, storage and related marketing activities). The increased access to fish protein consumption at the household level will improve nutrition in the region.

“The Bank is committed to supporting our regional member countries to make use of their living fisheries resources. This is crucial for building healthy diets and local consumption, facilitating regional trade and improving on the quality of life – especially for youth and women along the fish value chain,” said the Bank’s Blue Economy Flagship Coordinator, Dr. Ahmed Khan.

Also Read Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

The approved resources will promote Malawi’s national development as outlined in its Malawi National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy, its Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) and Malawi’s Vision 2020.

African Development Bank

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Agriculture

5 Must Haves For Your Barn House

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When you’re moving into a house, there are some items you consider a “must – have” such as a light bulb, serving dishes, and cooking utensils. Similarly, when building your farm or barn house, there are 7 items which your farm house should have:

1. Harvesting Tools: If you have a small backyard garden, you can manually harvest your fruits and vegetables when you need them. However, as your farm gets bigger, using your hands to uproot plants could get tiresome and employing labor may be out of your budget. This is why harvesting tools are a must-have.

Harvesting equipment such as hand sickles, ploughs, and harrows come in handy to save time and labor costs as well promote efficiency of harvesting. They can also serve as an extra source of income when you lease them to other farmers.

2. Cultivating Tools: If your farm is entirely a livestock farm such as a poultry or cattle rearing farm, then you might be able to get by without cultivating tools. Even at that though, it doesn’t hurt to have these tools in case you ever feel the urge to do a little gardening.

However, if you are growing crops, then tools such as spades, shovels, rakes, and hoes are essential for easy soil penetration or to transfer soil from one place to another.

3. Irrigation System and Tools: If you don’t have a constant supply of water on your farm, your crops might not grow well especially during the dry season. This is why your farm house must make space for a functional irrigation system.

A proper irrigation system provides plants with the necessary amount of water needed for sufficient growth. It improves the water conditions in the soil and increases the water content of plants

Some irrigation systems could be as simple as a watering can, as complicated as a multi-level drip-irrigation system, or as tech-driven as drones.

4. Toolshed: Just like you need a kitchen cabinet, you need a tool shed to store your tools. This will help you organize your tools and keep track of them.

Having a tool shed also prevents accidents. Imagine your spade just lying around in the farm and you’re walking around at night. A mishap could occur. Having a toolshed creates a designated space for your tools and reduces your chances of farm accidents.

Also Read Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

5. Crop/Livestock Feeding Equipment: Whether you’re growing crops, rearing animals, or doing both, your barn needs a feeding equipment. Animal feeding equipment such as hay racks, feeder, and feed buckets are essential for supplying animals with foods while watering systems and bowls are necessary for supplying livestock with clean water.

Although plants make their food through photosynthesis, they still need certain nutrients from the soil to survive. To ensure proper application of those nutrients, equipment such as sprayers are a must-have for your farm house.

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