Editorial (preface) by Raija Lannto
The invasion of Ukraine increases the importance of the InnoFoodAfrica work on supporting the development of agro-food value chains for traditional African crops.
The unexpected invasion of Ukraine has shaken the fragile balance of agricultural markets in Europe, the consequences will also radiate to many food-deficit African countries. It is the third severe impact on food security after the COVID 19 pandemic and the ongoing long-felt impacts of climate change. Volatility and surge were observed in fertiliser and energy prices already before the invasion, both directly affecting food production in both Europe and Africa. This situation exposes the vulnerability of the African agro-food system when it comes to the dependence on imported oil, fertilisers, and grain, such as wheat. Thus, leading to increased food prices, and weakening the purchasing power of consumers and the income of farmers and producers. In 2021, nearly one in three people in the world did not have access to adequate food, while about 3 billion people could not afford healthy food options. With the high costs of living there is a risk that the numbers could be higher in the coming months.
Reflecting on the present situation, InnoFoodAfrica’s development work is more on the crest of a wave as it was when we started nearly two years ago. We focus on improving the farming of traditional African climate-smart crops, developing well-preserving convenient, nutritious and crisis-proof foodstuffs out of them, converting in a value-adding way the crop side streams to biomaterials to increase raw material efficiency and decrease waste generation. We continue to address the key barriers of the African agro-food system, i.e. low productivity, limited access to urban and international markets, affordability and convenience of the foodstuffs. We continue to do capacity building targeted especially to women. The improved practices in increasing productivity of indigenous crops, post-harvesting technologies, crop residue valorization, nutritional guidance, and business skills will continue to be the practices used by InnoFood Africa. With commitment we will be able to pave way for these novel products to enter the markets, we have done our bit in the battle of eradicating hunger and better addressing all forms of malnutrition.