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.
- Processing (Branding and packaging).
- Distribution (wholesale and retail).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cocoa Pricing: Why Public-Private Sector Partnerships are Key to Sustaining the Livelihood of Smallholders Farmers in Africa
Pricing is a debating point in the cocoa sector, dominating contemporary stakeholder conversations; especially African cocoa producers. This is a result of the historically low cocoa prices that do not provide a fair income to farmers involved in cocoa production. Despite the announcement of the Living Income Differential (LID) by both Cote d’Ivoire and the Ghana Cocoa Boards, there still exist questions on the sustainability of this intervention – to take farmers out of poverty. Stakeholders in the African Cocoa industry need to rethink its strategy to improving farmers’ livelihood, by increasing their earning potential through value chain efficiency, facilitated by public-private sector partnership.
Interventions aimed at income enhancement and lifting farmers out of poverty are often based on the assumption that the said interventions, alone, are enough for the solution being pursued. On the surface, the decision to increase the farmgate price of cocoa and LID by an additional $400 a tonne on all cocoa contracts, appear to be a solution to lifting farmers out of poverty. However, even if farmers’ incomes were to increase – through increased farm gate prices – other structural issues like small farm sizes and low productivity levels will still keep these farmers below the poverty line.
For Cocoa farmers to earn a fair wage from their input, issues like ageing plantations, lack of adequate training and financing as well as direct access to the market, need to be addressed. These structural issues pose a more significant threat on the livelihood of cocoa producers in Africa. Price increases on their own are not enough to lift the poorest farmers out of poverty. Price interventions like the LID must go hand in hand with other policies and programme, implemented to increase the volume and quality of beans produced. Achieving this will require a multi-stakeholder collaboration involving both the private and public sector aimed at not only improving the quality of lives of farmers but ensuring that the cocoa value chain is optimized.
To enable smallholder farmers benefit in an egalitarian way from the cocoa industry, the focus should be towards improving value chain efficiency while addressing structural challenges in the sector. This is achievable through a public-private collaboration that will drive private sector operations to deepen financial markets, scale-up infrastructure investments and enhance productivity and quality through training and input supply.
Through collaborating with Cocoa Cooperative Societies –providing training, input financing and market access, AFEX has enabled smallholder farmers to increase their productivity, while producing to international standards. With technology like AFEX Workbench – a value chain management platform which facilitates input sourcing, loan administration, sales, a transparent and efficiently executed cocoa process is achieved.
A public-private sector-driven model will create a sustainable approach which will revitalize and boost cocoa production in Africa – creating jobs and improving the living standard of the farmers. While the government takes the driver seat to develop policies and the infrastructure to catalyze this growth across the cocoa ecosystem, private sector organizations will ensure value chain efficiency – increasing the benefits stakeholders gain from the industry.
AFEX is committed to providing the support and technology to improve the quality of life for African cocoa farmers and their communities.
Goodwell Investments Backs Chicoa Fish Farm With $1.5 Million Funding To Support Food Security In Africa
Chicoa Fish Farm Production Breeding Cage, Mozambique (Source: Chicoa Fish Farm)
Series A funding enables Chicoa to contribute to a stable market for affordable protein and improve outcomes for smallholder farmers and food vendors in Southern Africa.
Chicoa Fish Farm, a Mozambican-based company addressing the critical challenge of a lack of affordable protein in Southern Africa, announced today that it closed its Series A equity funding round totalling $1.5 million from Goodwell Investments.
Building A Sustainable Aquaculture Industry
Chicoa Fish Farm was founded by Gerard McCollum and Damien Legros in 2015 with the vision to provide a blueprint for a sustainable aquaculture industry across Africa. Since its inception, Chicoa has focused on securing its supply chain through primary production of tilapia, establishing a breeding program, and developing sales and distribution channels in Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa, and Zambia.
The $1.5 million Series A funding boosts the transition to its next stage of growth — the processing and distribution of frozen tilapia products. To facilitate this growth, plans include extending production facilities, the installation of a processing plant and including local small-scale farmers in its model. At scale, Chicoa will produce over 5,000 tons of tilapia per annum, putting more than $10M of direct income into the local economy each year.
“We are delighted that Goodwell has joined us on this really exciting journey to develop fish farming as an industry in Mozambique,” commented Gerry McCollum, CEO of Chicoa Fish Farm. “Being a first-mover is really challenging, but also hugely impactful. Not only do Goodwell bring a wealth of experience to the table, but their philosophy of supporting for transformative businesses in areas of most need makes them a perfect partner for us.”
Supporting Food Security
Food security is one of the biggest challenges facing Africa and Mozambique is amongst the worst affected, with nearly 80% of the population unable to afford an adequate diet. While the continent has the resources to feed its population, most countries are net exporters of food. Mozambique, for example, imports nearly double the value of fish products it exports. Further, regional aquaculture businesses currently satisfy just 6% of the total demand for fish across the Southern Africa region.
“The opportunity to develop the aquaculture industry to meet the local and regional demand is clear,” notes Dhanyal Davidson, Senior Investment Associate at Goodwell Investments. “The sector can play a key role in the economic development Mozambique by providing affordable, high-quality protein, creating jobs and generating income for local farmers, and promoting broader regional development.”
Affordable, High-Quality Protein
In the face of overfishing and climate change, aquaculture, in particular, provides a means of providing a stable fish supply without increasing the harvesting of wild fisheries beyond the maximum sustainable yields. Chicoa is the largest commercial provider of fish in Mozambique and works to increase yields to provide a sustainable protein source and facilitate import substitution, boosting the sector with an affordable, high-quality fish.
“Chicoa’s significant traction achieved to date coupled with our visit to the farm in Tete solidified our confidence in the company and its potential. The company is driven by an experienced team with deep roots in aquaculture and Southern Africa, and we look forward to supporting Chicoa to fulfil its potential. Aquaculture is a new area to Goodwell Investments, and we are especially pleased to be joining the table with like-minded investors who bring along a wealth of knowledge in the aquaculture space,” added Davidson.
Goodwell joins long-term Chicoa Fish Farm investor and leader in sustainable aquaculture investments, Aqua-Spark. Amy Novogratz, Founder and Managing Partner at Aqua-Spark commented, “We are excited about Goodwell Investments joining the investor base of Chicoa. Finding a high-quality partner like Goodwell, committed to joining us for the long-term development of regional food security, keeps Chicoa’s vision on track.”
By developing a vertically-integrated solution to kick-start the freshwater aquaculture industry in Mozambique, Chicoa helps to improve the lives and incomes of local fish farmers and increase the sustainability and stability of food supply across Southern Africa.
Source: Goodwell Investments
Cold Logistics Academy: Perishable Export Logistics Training (PELT)
Cold Logistics Academy, the training arm of Kennie O Cold Chain Logistics is poised to train aspiring and professionals in the cold chain and logistics industry. The Academy have a robust curriculum that spans across the relevant aspects of the profession. With seasoned facilitators, it guarantees a training experience with practicable modules and engagement.
Cold chain logistics plays a huge role in export of fruits and vegetables; whether by Air, Sea or Road. From the farm gate to the final destination.
Learn practicable skills in cold chain logistics and export from experts. Get certified in the Perishable Export Logistics Training (PELT).
The Cold Logistics Academy course has been developed to handle challenges and provide solutions in the transportation of perishables. The course content includes Cold Chain Logistics and Freight, Export documentation and planning, Insurance and claims, Packing and labeling for Export, Food safety and handling.
Who to attend
• Logistics professionals working in cold chain and related services.
• Senior and midlevel managers involved in cold chain design.
• Certification bodies.
• Operations and logistics managers.
• Warehouse managers and supervisors.
• Transport managers and supervisors.
• Third-party logistics personnel looking to improve their current operations, or providing cold chain services.
• Supply Chain Managers.
• Route Planning Managers.
• Cold Room and Storage Professional.
• Farmers and Agribusiness Practitioners.
• Pack house.
• Quality Assurance managers.
The extensive modules includes;
Module1. Export documentation and planning.
Module 2. Logistics and Freight (Cold Chain Logistics).
Module 3. Insurance and claims
Module 4. Packing and labeling for Export.
Module 5. Food safety and handling.
• Ope Olarenwaju CEO Kennie O Cold Chain Logistics.
• MudiagaOkumagba General Manager, RedStar Express PLC.
• Kinsley Kwalar CEO StilFresh.
• Adebola Akingbele Founder Msvalue food safety practices.
Date: 24th and 25th November 2020.
To register for the training, Clck here