For a long time now, the focus on food security and nutrition in Africa has been centered around addressing the challenges in production and distribution. The millions of dollars that the continent is losing in GDP because of malnutrition and the millions more children that are physically and mentally stunted due to undernutrition. As real as these challenges are, so is the progress that Africa is making in addressing these.
The need for a new nutrition narrative
Africa has the solutions to its nutrition challenges on its continent. It takes a collection of stories to create a narrative and the stories we need to share the positive strides towards a new narrative. The continent is full of robust examples of healthy eating that the world can emulate. Entrepreneurs who embrace indigenous knowledge and crops are becoming more prominent can be the driving force behind this new narrative.
Superfoods grown in Africa are catching the world’s attention. What the continent needs is interventions
- Growing the food Africans eat: Most of Africa’s arable land (455 million hectares) is suited to the cultivation of cassava, sweet potato, and sorghum. But currently, the continent produces corn, wheat, and rice—in that order of importance. One can argue that there is a mismatch between what the ecosystem can support and what we are producing. This causes regular food deficits.
- Taking technology to the farmers: The food and agribusiness sector is projected to grow to US $1 trillion by 2030. Local entrepreneurs need science and technology interventions to help them scale up and commercialise their businesses.
- Build a strong bioeconomy: The continent should start looking at agriculture as part of a bigger bioeconomy that should support livelihoods and complement other industrial sectors. To do that agroprocessing and entrepreneurship are key
SANBio supporting nutrition efforts
Addressing health and nutrition challenges in southern Africa is the core of our work. In the past year, our projects and awareness efforts have highlighted climate-smart crops and other neglected foods that are popular food sources. We are taking actionable steps to get bioentrepreneurs to scale their businesses. We value agroprocessing, and value addition of indigenous foods as some important pieces of the nutrition puzzle