From fruit waste to gourmet food-global issues

UNEP estimates that 50% of post-harvest losses occur on vegetable and fruit crops. However, innovative agricultural processors have found a way to process mulberries into jams and other products. Image source: Busani Bafana/IPS
  • by Busani Bafana (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
  • International news agency

Montre has a keen interest in mulberry fruit (Sclerotium), a hardy native tree that grows naturally in Africa. Mulberry fruit is rich in vitamins and nutrients. Vitamin C is 8 times that of oranges.

Montle-a serial entrepreneur and agricultural processor-has turned mulberry fruit waste into award-winning low to zero sugar compotes and jams Mungo Craft, A social enterprise co-founded by Montle and Olayemi Aganga in 2017. In addition, the company also produces jam, unsweetened onions and baobab chutney.

Maungo Craft is helping to eliminate food waste while providing delicious food and creating jobs in the agricultural value chain.

“We saw a great opportunity and decided to make candied fruit with mulberries that are not normally used in Botswana,” Montle, managing director of Maungo Craft, told IPS.

“Too many people think that mulberry trees are annoying. We saw an opportunity to get together to make jam,” Montle explained, as they saw an opportunity to make some money at the local farmers market in Gaborone, the capital.

“We learned during the journey that when manufacturing cosmetic mulberry oil, cosmetic processors had to go through 300 tons of mulberry fruit pulp to obtain 12 tons of mulberry cosmetic oil. We thought to ourselves what would happen to all these fruits,” Monteel recalled.

As the world fights food and nutrition insecurity-not just 280 million In 2020, people in Africa are undernourished-food loss and food waste are a growing challenge.

Food waste is the result of overproduction of food during industrial processing, distribution and consumption. Food will never be eaten and thrown away. Food loss refers to the food lost during cultivation, harvesting, and processing and preservation. This kind of food cannot reach consumers.

Factors leading to food loss and waste include lack of or poor agricultural processing skills and facilities for smallholders, and poor and inadequate storage facilities, which means that farmers cannot store perishable food or preserve it for future use.

According to a United Nations report, inefficient processing and drying, poor storage conditions, and insufficient infrastructure are important factors that cause food waste in Africa. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) United Nations. FAO estimates that in sub-Saharan Africa, the annual post-harvest food loss is worth US$4 billion—or enough to feed at least 48 million people.

In many African countries, post-harvest losses of grains are estimated to account for 25% of the total harvest. The Environment Agency stated that for certain crops, such as fruits, vegetables and root crops, the post-harvest loss may reach 50% because they are not as hardy as grains.

Montell described mulberry as a miraculous fruit, and said that this fruit can be used in food and skin care products.this United Nations Conference on Trade and Development It is estimated that by 2025, the global mulberry oil market value will reach 56.9 million U.S. dollars, with a return rate of 4.4%.

Food loss from perishable crops such as fruits and vegetables More than 20%, According to FAO’s forecast, for certain green leafy vegetables and tropical fruits, this figure exceeds 40%.

A small portion of Botswana mulberries are processed or value-added, causing food waste.

Maungo Craft cooperates with local suppliers, from spice suppliers to pulp suppliers, creating jobs for more than 1,000 fruit harvesters in the value chain. Aganda explained that the company has a relationship with companies that use the seeds in the mulberry tree to make cosmetics and skin care oils, and they use the fruit that would otherwise be wasted.

“The mulberry tree is an underutilized fruit, also known as an’orphan crop’. It used to be an integral part of the food system,” said Aganda, the production director of Maungo Craft. The company has won 13 awards, including one Products won Martha Stewart’s kitchen, an international celebrity.

“The reintegration of mulberry and other fruits and crops into our food system is an indispensable part of fighting and adapting to climate change. This, coupled with the deliciousness of many underutilized fruits, means that using these fruits will help us Said it’s important.”

Barilla Food and Nutrition Center (BCFN) Promote the adoption of healthier and sustainable diets at the local and international levels, while mitigating climate change and supporting food companies.

BCFN researchers designed a The Double Pyramid of Health and Climate By suggesting appropriate consumption frequencies for all food groups, such as prioritizing vegetables and fruits suitable for local conditions, convey the characteristics of a balanced, healthy and sustainable diet.

The Double Pyramid highlights the positive impact of nutritional balance on people’s health and protection of the environment. The double pyramid shows that the foods that should be eaten more frequently are also those that have less impact on our planet’s environment. On the contrary, foods that should not be consumed often tend to have a greater impact on the environment. Therefore, in a single model, you can see the relationship between two different but equally related goals: health and environmental protection.

“Food is the second most important factor in global sustainable development (after the energy industry): Therefore, all parties in the food production chain should give priority to reducing its environmental impact, because those who are not involved in finding solutions are Part of the problem,” BCFN commented.

Montell said the company is expanding into the local market and is focusing on the export markets of South Africa and the United States.

“We will also create new products for our customers and let them experience underutilized foods,” Montell said. “We put’culture in a bottle’.”


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© Inter Press Service (2021) — All rights reservedOriginal source: International News Service

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