The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated global concerns over food shortage, leaving the world in an unprecedented hunger crisis. The United Nations World Food Program’s (WFP) director warned in January 2020 that “the worst is yet to come”, as over 260 million people are at the brink of starvation and expect to face multiple famines “of biblical proportions” in the coming months.
Sub-Saharan Africa particularly at risk.
The pandemic, compounded by widespread flooding, droughts, and economic disarray has left people vulnerable in the 16-nation Southern African Development Community.
COVID-19 has significantly exacerbated food insecurity in Africa. In addition to lockdowns that have disrupted food production and internal supply chains, huge locust swarms have destroyed crops in Eastern Africa, leaving the content all the more dependent on externally sourced food.
How extrusion technology is bolstering food security in Africa.
At a time like this when acute food insecurity is looming over the continent, CFAM Technologies, leading food extrusion equipment manufacturers, draw attention to food extrusion technology.
Food extrusion is the process in which food ingredients like soy, wheat, maize, and many locally produced ingredients are combined with several conditions of mixing and heat application to formulate cooked food. The extruded food is loaded with nutrient contents that are culturally acceptable.
What’s more is that these nutrient-dense, affordable meals have long shelf-live and are safe for consumption for both rural and urban food-insecure households and disadvantaged communities.
Extrusion processes have emerged as a great solution for mass production of food and have expanded to include several commercial food-processing industries. Extruded food products include ready-to-eat instant porridges, cereals, health bars, processed meat products, pasta, nutritious pre-cooked food mixtures, snack foods and more.
In fact, CFAM is currently producing porridges (over 1million meals) in South Africa, which are distributed to families in need. The porridge is dry, but cooked, so that water or milk can be added in preparation. According to law all maize meals should be fortified with extra vitamins and minerals, but the cooking process at home destroys much of those nutrients. Extrusion technology emerges as a great way to add vitamins and minerals to the dry product after the cooking process. Therefore, besides the usual fortification, CFAM adds immunity boosting ingredients like extra Vitamin C and Zinc for added nutrition. These are supplied at the cost of ZAR 1 per meal.
Therefore, we believe that food extrusion technology can play a significant role in mitigating efforts against the shortage of food and nutrition in South Africa; especially during the global pandemic when the continent is highly dependent on locally produced agricultural products.