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FARAITODAY HEALTH TIPS: How Locally Produced Foods Benefit Africa’s Health!!

Filed under : Africa, Art & Culture, Lifestyle

Too often we hear the mantra, “buy locally produced foods, they are better for you” but what does it actually mean for the everyday African person, without the technical health mumbo jumbo that we may be tempted to ignore, feeling that it is a topic for those seemingly “obsessed” with Health & Fitness?

What are ‘locally-produced foods?

Locally produced food means food that is produced as close to the source as possible, so in whichever city you live in, it means for example, buying food products from local farmers’ markets, local food manufacturers or from others in the same country or region.

African smallholder farmers play a significant role in contributing to the production of locally produced foods, including the men and women we see selling fruit and vegetables from the various market stalls in cities all over Africa.  Smallholder farmers, the majority of them women, produce most of Africa’s food, often with minimal resources and limited support from government and society.  This is because of several factors, particularly our adaptation to more Western lifestyles which has seen our reliance on imported, processed foods increase.

What are the benefits of buying locally produced foods for the average African person?

1.      Protect the local economy

By buying locally produced foods you keep the money circulating within your economy, further strengthening it.

2.     Exceptional taste & better health

One of the reasons locally produced food tastes better is because it doesn’t have to travel several thousand miles to get to you.  The World Health Organisation cites our increasing adaptation on Western lifestyles, including our reliance on imported, processed foods as a large factor contributing to the rise in cancer amongst Africans, with more than 70% of cancer deaths occurring in developing countries.

Buying food whilst being aware of exactly where it was produced and that it will have less pesticides, preservatives and other cancer-causing agents, will improve the health of the local community. The strength of a nation is closely linked to the health of its population.

3.  Protect the environment

Because locally produced food doesn’t have to travel far, it reduces the carbon dioxide emissions, packing materials, preservative chemicals etc. Caring about our environment as Africans isn’t something just for Western nations, it affects all of us and our future generations.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which has visionaries like Kofi Annan (UN Secretary General 1997-2006) and Strive Masiyiwa (Chairman & CEO of Econet Wireless International) on its Board, aims to achieve a food secure and prosperous Africa through the promotion of agricultural growth based on smallholder farmers and recognises the way in which this also helps to protect the environment. One of its aims is to double the income of smallholder farmers by 2020.

…More than anything, it is important to believe that Africa can be healthy and prosperous! So why not start taking the small steps needed to contribute to the security of our future generations today?

Teurai Chanakira is the Founder of the Elizabeth Chanakira Cancer Trust, Zimbabwe which amongst its objectives, raises the awareness of Natural Health & Fitness, to reduce cancer risk (including promoting locally grown products).

Follow me on Twitter: @Teurai1

Writer, Model, Founder of Elizabeth Chanakira Cancer Trust

Teurai Chanakira – who has written posts on Farai Today.

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