The African Development Bank (AfDB) participated in the 1st All African Post-Harvest Congress and Exhibition, which took place at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya from March this year. During the Congress, the Bank presented its Flagship on Post-Harvest Losses Reduction and Agro Processing (PHAP), to a wider audience of post-harvest specialists, research institutions, donor agencies, African Union, farmer groups and the international community. PHAP was widely acknowledged by all participants as path towards post-harvest reduction in Africa and beyond.
The Post-harvest Losses Reduction and Agro-Processing (PHAP) Flagship is one of the vehicles/conduits the Bank is using to implement the Feed Africa Strategy. The Feed Africa Strategy is one of the AfDB’s ‘High 5’ framework for accelerated support to Regional Member Countries (RMCs) on agriculture transformation and the strategy seeks to support four of the NEPAD’s Comprehensive Africa’s Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) goals namely: Contribute to eliminating extreme poverty in Africa by 2025; end hunger and malnutrition in Africa by 2025; make Africa a net food exporter; and, move Africa to the top of export-orientated global value chains where it has comparative advantage. In the near term PHAP will systematically address the processing and post-harvest losses challenges of the target commodity value chains identified in the Feed Africa Strategy as encapsulated in the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA); to enable countries to achieve supply-chain efficiencies through targeted investments in rural infrastructure, logistical support, post-harvest and agro-processing technologies leading to reduced physical losses, improved food availability and enhanced product quality, in a sustainable manner
PHAP activities are consistent with the ATA as it resonates with the second Enabler of the Feed Africa Strategy: namely ‘Realize the value of increased production’. It also aligns with Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve quality of life for the people of Africa through jobs for youth’s initiative. PHAP is also consistent with the emerging consensus in Africa that, if agriculture is to be the main sector to stimulate economic growth on the continent, investments should go beyond improvements in on-farm productivity to also address the post-production sector.
Hence, PHAP flagship programme is working within a bigger picture of the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy which is even embedded and linked within a bigger concept of the Bank’s High 5 priorities especially industrializing Africa and to improve the quality of life of Africans. It also complements other Feed Africa initiatives such as Technology for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT) which aims to increase investment into agriculture research and technology dissemination to increase agriculture productivity, Agropoles for creating enabling environment within high potential areas, ENABLE Youth, Agricultural Risk Sharing & Financing Facility for increased agriculture finance, etc. to achieve overall agriculture transformation by 2025.
PHAP will be implemented through four identified components, namely:
Component 1: Policy formulation and institutional strenghthening. PHAP remains an underexploited opportunity to improve livelihoods from agricultural activities because most countries give insufficient attention to development of the postharvest sector although they have relatively well defined agricultural and rural development policies. The Bank will support RMCs to formulate and implement policies and provide public goods that can enhance profitability and competitiveness of enterprises involved in the postharvest sector. This will entail the development of integrated post-harvest strategies that strengthen policy on PHAP by bringing together all the potential policy and resource points in a strategic way.
Component 2: Agro-Processing and Storage Facilities: Overall, Africa lags behind other regions in terms of captive markets for value added products relative to the importance of agriculture to its economies. Sub-Saharan Africa’s value added products accounts for only 3.4% of the developing countries, compared to 30.9% in Latin America, 53.6% in South and South East Asia. This is because, across agricultural value chains, very little/rudimentary processing takes place in Africa. Africa produces approximately 70 percent of world cocoa beans by weight, but only about 20 percent of intermediate cocoa products. There is therefore greater value to be captured in downstream agro-processing to take Africa up in the global value chains.
As a result, PHAP will focus on robust investment and support to agro-processing of the targeted commodities identified in the Feed Africa Strategy. Investment in agro-processing under PHAP will stimulate the volume of production and trade, and contribute to the efficiency of the value chain, apart from the direct impact on food supply.
Dry storage: An ability to store agricultural commodities is key to achieve effective marketing, food security and reduced PHL. This includes dry storage, mainly for grains and cold storage facilities, mainly for fruits and vegetables, livestock products and fish. Adequate capacity is required for storage of grains either as working stock for regular distribution, buffer stocks for stabilizing domestic prices and stocks for rapid emergency aid. Irrespective of the end use the grain is stored for, the storage structures must be adequately designed, operated and managed to limit PHL.
Investments will also be made in cold storage structures for fruits and vegetables, meat and milk. Fish storage structures are also envisaged at various points of the chain linking vessels, landing sites.
Market infrastructure: Goods have to be exchanged at some point and the physical location where this takes place is important. Investments under the PHAP will include construction and rehabilitation of market structures. These include: assembly, wholesale and retail markets, market centres, livestock markets, abattoirs and killing floors and fish landing sites. Market areas, areas for the processing of fish, and markets for cattle and small-stock will be either upgraded or constructed at key locations. Storage options will be provided for occasional traders to enable farmers and fishers to better control the selling of their produce and achieve higher returns.
Damian Ihedioha, PhD is the Acting Coordinator of PHAP/Principal Agro Industry Specialist at the AfDB