Every year, on the 5th day of June, the world gets ready to celebrate ‘The World Environment Day’. This day is used to sensitize masses on environmental issues, how they affect their lives and propose solutions to the resultant problems. The theme for this year’s celebrations is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”.
The theme revolves around advocating for reduction of food waste through effective utilization among households globally. In long term, given the enormous imbalance in lifestyles, economic pyramid and the resultant devastating effects of food waste on the environment; it encourages everyone to become more aware of the environmental impact of the poor food utilization and calls for informed decisions in food selection.
To attain food security, Farm Concern International has always been at forefront in promoting smallholder interventions through various business models that provide interventions in household nutrition, energy saving initiatives, rainwater harvesting, food production and preservation innovations. In developing countries, 70% of food waste occurs mainly at early stages of the value chain production. This can be traced back to financial, managerial and technical constraints faced by farmers in harvesting and post-harvest handling techniques, storage and cooling facilities. Thus, a collective farmers’ involvement in strengthening of the supply chain through cost effective smallholder innovations support and investments in demo infrastructure, transportation could help to reduce the amount of food loss and waste.
Estimates show that 70% of freshwater is used in production of food. Promotion of household nutrition initiatives ensures effective utilization of food. FCI has therefore developed rainwater harvesting farm ponds, Kijiji budget and bucket irrigation systems; all intended for increased food production.
Through the Green Village Model, FCI supports smallholder solutions that are intended for specific challenges. This model is geared towards effective natural resources utilization, reduced production costs, environmental conservation sensitivity in pastoralism farming and climate change adaptation. Over the years, FCI has promoted conservation of natural resources in farm production which includes; tree planting, energy conservation, rainwater harvesting and management and soil conservation initiatives. Our Natural Resource Management strategic framework promotes planting five multipurpose trees by households in all the regions; so far, up to 2.6 million trees have been planted across FCI sites in last three years.
Consumption has always been pivotal in the community empowerment. It is estimated that 30% of food waste constitutes kitchen losses. FCI’s Nutridense Business Model has facilitated effective utilization and preservation of food in the household through cooking and value addition demonstrations sessions. Most farmers across FCI sites rely on wood for cooking which has led to massive destruction of the forests for fuel. To reduce the effect and improve conservation of energy, FCI has constantly sought energy solutions suitable for farmers. We have promoted the fireless cooker because it is easy to develop and is adopted faster. This innovation will ease the task of collecting wood by reduction of the wood usage to 40%. The adoption of this innovation will reduce reliance on the wood fuel and emissions while protecting the existing forests cover.
Finally, FCI promotes cottage processing. This has been done through the introduction of chippers and renewable energy solar drying solutions using UV treated solar covered driers. This has since reduced post-harvest losses of cassava by more than 95% in Makueni, Arusha-TZ and Busia. We have also developed a vegetable drier used for drying TAVs for commercial and home use. This has assisted farmers in preserving vegetables during the rainy seasons when there is plenty in the farms for use in dry periods. In order to preserve foods while taking care of the environment, FCI has facilitated the farmers with charcoal coolers - smallholder improvised refrigerators that can reduce temperature to a 15ºC difference of room temperature.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond