As Africa urbanises, food habits change and incomes rise, not only are local businesses investing more in food processing, but also multinationals including AB InBev, Nestle, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Arla and many more have joined the race for a piece of the pie.
This changing face of the industry will surely bring with it opportunities to improve the capacity of the food and agriculture value chain, while bringing with it complexities in regulatory compliance as new technologies get introduced into Africa, while opening doors to an improved, world class operating environment.
Crop Production & Storage
Poor quality produce and inadequate storage infrastructure remain some of the biggest challenges faced by Africa, as it seeks to feed its population while also increasing its focus on the regional and export markets. Further, lack of harmonised standards across Africa are also hindering the often talked about intra-African trade in various crop produce, including the most traded crops like grains.
The burden borne by African countries in such common issues including mycotoxins, including Aflatoxins, pesticide residues, microbial and physical contamination weigh heavily on the ability of the Continent to feed its population with safe food, while hampering the vast opportunity of regional and international trade.
Animal Production & Feed
Poor quality animal products including milk and meat, fish and poultry weigh heavily on the possibility of Africa becoming a preferred source of animal sourced products to the World, blighting the potential that is increasing, as the demand for protein rises.
Many food safety risks arise during milking, slaughter, processing, preparation, storage and distribution of animal products. Chilled or frozen supply chain, vital for the maintenance of animal products in safe and quality conditions, are largely lacking in Africa.
Further, the burden of mycotoxins hangs on the neck of the animal production industry, hindering the realisation of the full potential of the sector.
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing & Distribution
The fast growth of the pharmaceuticals industry in Africa has attracted multinationals and local companies to set up manufacturing and distribution infrastructure in African countries as they seek to tap into the region’s growth story.
Local manufacturing, which will eventually lead to better access and pricing to desperately needed medicines, is hindered by poor quality assurance systems, with only a handful of manufacturers meeting the global standards. Further, the patchy regulatory environment continues to place a strain on manufacturers as they seek regional markets that are vital for their growth.
Hospitality, Restaurants & Catering
Africa has become the latest region to pull in the major fast food, hotel, cafe and other foodservice and hospitality industry giants, driven by the rising economies, urbanisation and the uplift in the tourism sector across the Continent.
This, compounded by the rise in food delivery and e-commerce applications has created new opportunities for entrepreneurs but also opened new avenues where food quality and safety can be compromised in a major way.