For a large population already poor and at risk, disruptions to food value chains and food insecurity have driven most people to a catastrophic situation, adding to the string of woes experienced in the country. Unavailability and adequate access to edible food have been said to be major concerns. In Nigeria, there is no actual official policy put in place to address the country’s nearly 38 million tons of food loss and waste per year and encourage food donation.
As the emerging and increasing challenges to food security and food donation continues to loom in Nigeria, the Global Food Donation Policy, Atlas has in recent time demonstrated advisory concern, proposing policies which might be a boost to attaining the country’s objective of eradicating poverty and mitigating hunger issue by 2035. The proposed policies serve as a stimulus to Nigeria’s existing policies and legal barriers to food donation. It also highlights strategic solutions that align with the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Food donations are not covered by any form of tax incentive in Nigeria.
The urgency of bridging the discrepancy between food production and consumption is underscored in a report released by Atlas, which shows that 44% of Nigeria’s population suffers moderate or severe food insecurity while 40% of food is wasted post-harvest. Some of the policies proposed to encourage food donations in Nigeria include providing detailed information on food safety standards that apply to donations, creating clear and comprehensive liability protections for food donors and food recovery organizations that meet food safety standards, and distributing surplus food.
In addition, Atlas also proposed measures, including incentive schemes and awareness initiatives. Currently, in Nigeria, food donations are not covered by any form of tax incentive. As a result, the expenses of preparing, storing, and delivering donated food are at the expense of the donators. It further suggests that tax incentives should be made available for in-kind donations adding that food donation organizations should be included on the list of organizations to which tax-deductible donations can be made.
Donors are to be protected from any potential criminal charges.
Speaking on the proposed policies, the President of the Lagos Food Bank Initiative, Michael Sunbola, assert that the policies have the capacity to promote the donation of edible food whilst mitigating food waste in the food industry. According to Halley Aldeen, GFN’s Research Director, the biggest issue with food donations is the worry that recipients could be harmed because of what they eat, thus the necessity for donors to be protected from any potential criminal charges.
Several bodies such as the Global Food Banking Network (GFN), Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), Postharvest Loss Alliance for Nutrition and the Lagos Food Bank Initiative are in collaboration to figure out how to get surplus food to people who need it, and what the most significant obstacles are to donating food. Director of FLPC, Emily Broad Leib, expressed optimism that the policies being proposed will have a positive effect on a variety of industries in Nigeria and inspire more people to provide food.
The public should be enlightened about food safety.
Furthermore, Sunbola also stressed the need to enlighten the public about food safety in order to alter the way that people in Nigeria think about the topic of use-by dates. He suggested using visuals and social media to spread the word about the promulgation. Given that the economic and human costs of food waste are substantial, as it was proposed, Nigeria could boost the effort to attain its objectives of reducing poverty and ending hunger by 2035 by scrutinizing and adjusting the food donation initiative.