The staple food in Zambia is called Nshima and it is made from Maize (corn) meal. This food is usually eaten together with vegetables and various types of meat products. Food waste is usually generated as leftovers of Nshima and vegetables in most restaraunts as well as canteens. As an example, a canteen at one of the mines in Zambia serves over 7, 000 meal packs (mostly Nshima, meat and vegetables) per 8 hour shift in a day. The majority of the consumers of these meals fail to finish their allocated portion; as a result, this left over food ends up being thrown at the dump site. This left over food can be collected and given to pigs as their main meal; this can then be supplemented with lesser portions of protein rich animal feed. The rationale is that the biggest portion of the feed for pigs is maize and the pigs can consume it even in its processed form (Nshima).
Similarly, in the process of making maize meal, finer maize grains and roughage is produced which with addition of food supplements such as vitamins can form additional food for pigs. So the milling companies can be encouraged to sweep/clean their milling plants and the waste can be used to feed pigs.
During the rainy season in Zambia, there is a massive production of fruits and vegetables; however, there are very limited techniques as well as machinery for processing or storage of the excess food/ crops. As a result, over 25% of the crop produced in this season goes to the dump sites especially at the markets or on the farms. These waste vegetables and fruits can also be used as food supplements for pigs.
My view is that instead of leaving the leftover food and excess vegetables to rot at the dump sites, farmers and marketers should be encouraged to give it to animals specifically pigs which in our communities have been known to eat most of the foods that human beings eat.
This will not only reduce wastage of food but will also promote recycling. This however needs investment in campaigns that can promote awareness of this subject as well as interventions that would encourage farmers and carteens to segregate thier waste or excess food.