Innovations Session N°18

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Innovations in packaging: opportunities for African entrepreneurs and SMEs

Improving packaging systems will contribute to strengthening the entire food supply chain, improve the competitiveness of enterprises and benefit all food chain actors and consumers.

The need for efficient supply chains and logistics systems which ensure timely and cost-effective delivery of packaged goods remains a complex task.

More and more packaging is no longer considered as a cost item by businesses but as an investment which adds value to the finished product. This is crucial as a consumer’s decision to buy is made largely by looking at the packaged product, and consumers are captivated by unique products.

Appropriate packaging has a significant impact in improving food quality and safety, thereby reducing food losses, whilst enhancing the competitiveness of Africa’s agro-enterprises and boosting trade. Furthermore, packaging plays a key role in improving the marketing of produce and is an important part of a strategy to enhance competitiveness of agro-SMEs.

To reducing the overall environmental impact of food packaging systems, the continent should also consider the environmental impact of the packaging material itself.

African enterprises must lead in green packaging. To achieve this, they will need facilities to test new packaging designs, information platforms to inform processors about available materials and equipment, and advisory support services to help enterprises adapt production and product design to reduce costs, waste and pollution. Also, there is a need to attract investors to develop scalable and recyclable packaging manufacturing facilities.[1]

[1] FAO. Experts define sustainable packaging priorities for Africa. 2018.

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