For Nigerian tomato farmers, just getting the juicy red fruit to market is a gamble. As much as half of the West African nation’s 1.8 million tonnes of tomatoes produced each year is lost due to spoilage or damage during transport to domestic markets.
The tomato is a staple in Nigerian cooking and a symbol of the global challenge of food loss. As opposed to food waste - surplus food that is thrown out and a bigger problem for developed countries - the biggest challenge for many developing countries is what happens to the food before it reaches the customer.
“Nigeria is one of the largest agricultural producers in the world, so it isn’t only tomatoes. This is a huge market that is losing about half of everything it produces because there is no cold-chain infrastructure or processes in place to support an efficient supply chain,” says Annette Stube, Head of Sustainability, A.P. Moller - Maersk.
Helping reduce global food loss is one of three sustainability priorities in A.P. Moller - Maersk, along with reducing CO2 emissions and multiplying the benefits of trade.
These issues represent the areas where A.P. Moller - Maersk wants to create shared value by proactively addressing big societal challenges in a way that draws on the company’s competencies as a transport and logistic company, enabling upside for the business as well. The 17 sustainable development goals that the United Nations laid out in 2015 for social, environmental and economic progress by 2030 are used as a key filter for which challenges society is focused on solving.