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FAO, ITC and I.M.A. S.p.A. join forces to address challenges in packaging for small and medium agro-enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa.

A section of participants at the inception workshop

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and I.M.A. S.p.A. have joined forces to address challenges of improving food packaging for small and medium agro-enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa. 

In most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, poor packaging is one of the main reasons for the failure of locally manufactured food products to compete favourably with imported ones. Overcoming the packaging constraints faced by small and medium agro-enterprises (SMAEs), which manufacture the bulk of locally processed food products will contribute to strengthening the entire food supply chain, improve the competitiveness of SMAEs and benefit all food chain actors and consumers.

This collaborative project will provide guidance to food chain actors and governments in the beneficiary countries on appropriate food packaging systems including packaging materials, equipment, technologies and an enabling policy and regulatory framework, thus contributing to improve the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of food supply chains. The project will be implemented in Ghana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia.

Mr. Papa Bartels, Director of Value Chain and Logistics at the Ministry of Trade and Industries of the Republic of Ghana at the project inception workshop, observed that an initiative to improve food packaging, especially for Ghana-made products could not have come at a better time. He said there are many products on the Ghanaian market that require significant improvements in  the areas of packaging.

Mr. Bartels gave the assurance of the government’s readiness to ensure the success of the project.

On his part, the FAO Representative to Ghana, Dr. Abebe Haile Gabriel, in an address read on his behalf, noted that sub-Saharan Africa, with its population projected to double from 1.2 billion in 2015 to 2.4 billion by 2050 and with  urbanization projected to triple from 39% in 2015 60% by 2050, has a huge and growing potential market for processed and packaged products. African countries should strategically position themselves to seize this immense opportunity through investment in processing and packaging that contributes towards boosting employment and value-addition. 

He further expressed his appreciation to ITC and IMA SpA who have partnered with FAO to implement this project. ITC will provide its extensive experience of food packaging systems on the African continent. IMA SpA is a global leader in the design and manufacture of automated packaging equipment and is funding the project. Today, more than ever, innovative partnerships that bring together complementary areas of expertise and provide value for money are essential for delivering tangible results. This collaboration between FAO, ITC and IMA SpA is an example of such a partnership which combines the strengths and comparative advantages of the public and private sectors.