Sahara Group Advocates Private Sector Collaboration to Boost Food Security


By Peter Uzoho

Energy conglomerate, Sahara Group, has canvassed increased private sector collaboration towards optimising food value chains to address global undernourishment prevalence.

Sahara’s intervention came on the heels of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)’s report on the state of food security and nutrition in the world, which said undernourishment prevalence stands at 687.8million, representing 8.9 per cent of global population.

The FAO report also recorded the prevalence of severe food insecurity at 746.0million, which translates to 9.7 per cent of global population.

Further review of the report shows that sub-Saharan Africa alone has severe food insecurity prevalence of 227.5million, which is 21.3 per cent of Africa’s population.

The report cited undernourishment as a measure of the insufficiency of an individual’s food consumption to provide the amount of dietary energy required to maintain a normal, active and healthy life.

It also explained that food insecurity refers to limited access to food, at the level of individuals or households, due to lack of money or other resources.

The Director, Governance and Sustainability, Sahara Group, Pearl Uzokwe, said in a statement that collaboration among regional and global businesses will increase investments in sustainable food and agricultural projects and create avenues for better engagement with governments and global development agencies.

She said the requirement for global healthy diet cost estimated at $3.75 per person per day and $3.84 per person per day makes achieving nutritious food for all a herculean task, given that the cost of a healthy diet exceeds the international poverty line established at $1.90 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) per person per day.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how much progress we can all make when businesses toe the path of collaboration. Addressing food security across the globe is a quest that requires urgent attention to ensure that no individual is left behind.

“Sahara Group is already witnessing how effective multi-stakeholder cooperation can be with the ongoing implementation of the Food Africa project,” she said.

According to Uzokwe, increased investment will help address low levels of productivity, high production risks, insufficient diversification towards more nutritious foods and lack of physical access to food markets.

She noted that collaboration would also facilitate the emergence of vibrant trade policies that will give traction to food production, improve food safety and quality standards.

“We will ultimately move the world towards robust food value chains that will enhance food storage, road infrastructure, and food preservation capacity where heart breaking losses exist for highly perishable foods,” she added.

The Food Africa Project is a collaborative initiative between Sahara Group, United Nation- Sustainable Development Goals-Fund (SDG-F), FAO, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), Roca Brothers and the Kaduna State Government, directed at empowering the people and alleviating poverty through food security.

According to the statement, since 2016, a total of 388 farmers and other players have directly benefitted from capacity building trainings along Horticultural value chain, business development and cooperative management, value addition and market linkages.

It said more opportunity was given to youth and women participation in the trainings conducted (74 per cent) and that 247 farmers operating under 15 cooperatives/farmer groups profiled by FAO were supported with agricultural implement which improved their productivity and minimised post-harvest losses.

The statement further said that through value chain market programmes, 78 lead farmers, market agents and food processors (44 women) improved their knowledge of value addition, food safety, market development and linkages and off-farm opportunities.

It added that farmers’ access to improved agro-processing and value chain integration would be further enhanced through the establishment of the food processing facility by Sahara Foundation.