This paper published in African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND) reaveals the simple constraints which seem to apply to much of food distribution in Africa.
(click image for full story online)
The paper addressed the socioeconomic importance of indigenous vegetables, the potential for leafy green vegetables in Cameroon and post harvest losses and processing. Amongst its conclusions are:
The low capital requirements for getting into this market and the relative lack of barriers also meant that this was a competitive market, and earnings were thus, generally low.
Because appropriate packaging was not available, transportation and handling caused physical damage that later resulted in losses.
The sun- dried vegetables were not appealing to consumers because the appearance was unattractive due to re-wetting during drying and possible contamination by flying objects and domestic livestock.
Producing and marketing indigenous vegetables in Cameroon hold great promise to provide a livelihood to the rural and peri-urban poor families through providing employment, and can contribute significantly towards poverty alleviation and food
An informative paper, but does it highlight something about how we in Africa ignore simple things like some packaging and a bit of evaporative cooling storage – are we too unconcerned about quality or does the consumer just not have the money or are we just too lazy. It doesn’t seem to be the money issue because the South African Supermarkets seem to making good business by filling the niche or quality vegetables!