According to the FAO, In spite of the oil, agriculture remains the base of the Nigerian economy, providing the main source of livelihood for most Nigerians. The sector faces many challenges, notably an outdated land tenure system that constrains access to land (1.8 ha/farming household), a very low level of irrigation development (less than 1 percent of cropped land under irrigation), limited adoption of research findings and technologies, high cost of farm inputs, poor access to credit, inefficient fertilizer procurement and distribution, inadequate storage facilities and poor access to markets have all combined to keep agricultural productivity low (average of 1.2 metric tons of cereals/ha) with high postharvest losses and waste.
The Food chain is quite long and has a lot of players. However, the food we eat is a lot less secure than we would like to imagine. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, food fraud is estimated to be a $40 billion a year problem. Did you even know this?
Here are 5 Challenges that food supply chain:
1. Traceability for Consumers
Traceability is no longer just about or from consumers, but a demand and a necessity which is one that is only growing stronger. According to food safety tech, “A recent transparency survey found that consumers want to see everything from a complete ingredient breakdown to sourcing information, with 94% of respondents saying they are likely to be more loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency. Now, people are getting more health conscious and just want to know where the food is coming from.(People here refers to educated ones and those who are health conscious; a lot of people still don’t care).
2. Communication between key players
“One of the biggest challenges preventing full traceability of our food is the fragmented nature of the supply chain.” People should know and deserve to know where are the tomatoes from? You’d be told Upnorth; Alright, fine. Whose farm? What seeds? What was used to grow this? We should know. We talk about farm to fork; can restaurants have a link or something on their website or menu where we can trace where the rice came from? Nuli Lounge tells us its fruits are from local famers; Can we get the location and farm? You know?
Corruption is so ingrained in the nation that you can pay your way out of anything or pay anyone. From customs to drivers and even paying people to push a too good to be true picture of your product that they know is nasty but hey…Pay me my money and let me disappear. You know?
Did you know that According to this article by voice for Transparency,” The case of the 2013 horse meat scandal illustrates this: Horse meat started its journey labelled as such from a Romanian abattoir, but by the time it ended up in France it was transformed into ‘beef’. Its physical journey had taken it across Europe to the Netherlands and then to France. The paperwork, however, had ping-ponged from Romania, to the Netherlands, to Cyprus and, in at least one instance according to an investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), to the well-known secrecy jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands.”
Can you believe this?
There is a video on Land corruption that can be watched here
Some of these suppliers have an amazing team of supporters that make would do anything for them. I once asked a woman in the market some years ago about the source of the particular palm oil and why another person sells different one and se was so uncomfortable; like talking about the other woman could be deadly. I was shocked. Anyone can be a target. It’s that crazy and sometimes well organized.
5.The Law and Legalization
What if there is a strong legal system that actually works and sentence offenders and ensure that they pay? And protects the consumers? This is a long way to go. What if those who label their foods organic and they are not actually get whopped by the law so that people can’t and don’t try to do wrong against the health of the final consumer?
Sometimes when it comes to perspective, People say stuff like: “And its not so bad o”, “May God keep Us”, Especially when you hit the market, People be like: “It’s not the fault of those peddling rubbish; the Government is not helping” or the most common one now: “There is hunger in Town”. For Godsake, there will always be issues, challenges affecting mankind; we may never even have a “sane” clime ever or a state of affairs where everyone is King or people are in total control of the government. Even in most advanced places like China, the people still have to protest against the government or their policies. This is to say that the environment may never be perfect but rules, principles and some amount of transparency that will be put in place through the use of Organizations are a must for safety of the consumers which will in turn affect the health of the entire populace. Imagine eating plastic in the name of eggs or seeing the atrocities sold currently as Rice in Nigeria and people say stuffs like:”Aunty Manage it na; na border wey government close cause am”(Manage it, it’s the border closure that has affected the quality of rice available); Every opportunity to blame the government is a Goal; what about blaming those smuggling rice in car bumpers or inside dirty car seats and all just to see imported rice?; what about those who sell local rice that cannot think of removing the stones so as to sell to people (Value addition), what about those preserving fish, Ponmo (Cow skin) and sea foods with Formalin? Is that the Government fault as well?
Questions like what’s the worst that can happen is one of the questions people ask. Must something bad happen before people wake up to reality on ground that humans are naturally selfish in some way and you’d have to be deliberate about being trust worthy and not just think about ypir pocket and gains.
The focus shouldn’t be on the worst thing that can happen but what should be done or people should ask questions like what can I do or what should be done.
There needs to be a linkage between the actors. How can the actors be traced and the food produce systems of market entry be further scrutinized or analyzed. At least we have people like Farm Republic who do market linkages, do routine check ups on the farmers and the produce so as to give the buyers the absolute best in line with their interest.
We basically need structure; Not just structures but Structures that WORK.