To learn from past endeavors in Nigeria, EatSafe conducted a desk review of previous investments in food safety in Nigeria using the available database of the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP), a public private initiative hosted by the World Bank. This effort is aimed at gauging the level of funding directed at food safety compared to other components of projects funded.
In 2017-2018, the GFSP undertook an intensive analysis of recent food safety investment in sub-Saharan Africa (2010-2017). A total of 45 projects were analyzed: 15 projects lasted for at least one year and 18 were "short-term" (i.e., workshops and trainings). Six of the 15 (>1 year) projects were implemented only in Nigeria. The average food safety project in the country lasted three years and are currently coming to a close. A majority (>50%) of the projects were implemented by non-government entities. Nine of the 15 projects (60%) addressed aflatoxin, two were on microbiological hazards, and one was on pesticide reduction in cocoa. Approximately half of the projects were focused on African markets versus export outside the continent. The public health link was not clear in majority of the projects. We could not find any project that specifically addressed food safety in informal markets focusing on the consumer and the related public health impact – EatSafe’s proposition. In addition, we found very few rigorous evaluations of donor funded investments. However, the projects tended to focus on formal private sector enterprises and legislation which likely benefits the richer entrepreneurs and consumers more (than the domestic consumers).
The following conclusions can be drawn:
- current donor investment in food safety is focused on access to regional and overseas export markets;
- there is an enormous under-investment in food safety relative to its public health and economic impacts;
- risk-based approaches to prioritization and of incentive-based approaches to interventions are lacking, with too much emphasis on the “trivial many” hazards and not enough on the "vital few";
- evaluation is difficult to find and lacking in rigor; and lastly,
- donors and national governments should consider a new strategic approach to capacity building.