Finland's FoodAfrica programme improves food security in African nations
Started in 2012 FoodAfrica is funded by the Finland government and has helped to improve the quality and security of food availability in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Uganda.
The FoodAfrica initiative that ends in June this year is centred on sustainable food production, food safety and nutrition, market access and agricultural extension.
After three successful editions, Food Africa marks its footprints as a foremost international exhibition in the African region, dedicated to the agro-food industry. Situated in Egypt, this exhibition provides a versatile and highly-targeted platform for local, regional, and international industry players to reap solid opportunities in Egypt's whopping market and Africa's highly demanding agro-food sector.
Mila Sell, a senior specialist, Natural Resources Institute Finland, says that African soils are generally poor in micronutrients, which is a big challenge because smallholders have insufficient money to buy fertilisers.
"Small-scale farmers, especially in the rural areas, have the weakest access to information," says Sell, adding that providing information, especially on land preparation and proper use of inputs to these farmers, can increase yields.
According to her, Africa offers an enormous diversity of edible plant species that could help enhance food security. These species, she notes, could be used by involving women in decision-making at household and national levels in matters of agriculture, especially food and nutrition.
The programme, the experts noted, has been able to engage volunteer farmer trainers (VFTs) to help increase the reach and sustainability of agricultural extension services. It has trained 20,000 farmers and improved the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people.