Nigerian innovator uses app to fight food waste

Technology

A Nigerian entrepreneur, Oscar Ekponimo is working to reduce food waste in Nigeria by getting stores to donate groceries they don’t need to poor families.

The software engineer has developed a web app known as Chowberry which enables charities shop for products that are about to expire at a discounted price.

Ekponimo said his own experiences growing up without enough to eat, inspired him to come up with the technology.

There was a phase in the family where my dad was temporally ill and out of work and I remember vividly during that time period the challenge at home was access to wholesome meal or quality meal.

“There was a phase in the family where my dad was temporally ill and out of work and I remember vividly during that time period the challenge at home was access to wholesome meal or quality meal, we could go a day or two without having a quality meal and this was something that affected me psychologically and also impacted on my academics and I always said sometime in the future I would resolve this problem,” he said.

According to U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), About a third of food produced around the world is never eaten because it is spoiled after harvest and during transportation, or thrown away by shops and consumers.

The app allows charities access products ranging from cereals, cooking oil, powdered milk to snacks among other groceries.

Throwing out food wastes the water, energy and fuel needed to grow, store and transport it, campaigners say, while discarded food ends up in landfills where it rots, releasing harmful greenhouse gases according to campaigners.

Discarded food often ends up in landfills where it rots, releasing harmful greenhouse gases, while the water, energy and fuel needed to grow, store and transport it is wasted.

In Nigeria one-third of children under 5 are stunted and conflict waged by Boko Haram militants in the northeast has left over 4 million people without access to enough food according to the World Food Programme.
One of the beneficiaries receiving groceries from the Hold my Hands Women and Youth Development Foundation, Chizoba Ugwu said she has been struggling to fend for the family.

“It is so difficult for me to get food to feed my family because I don’t have work to do, so it was people’s help that I manage to feed my children but now things will be better for me,” she added.

Ekponimo won the 2016 Rolex award for enterprise, which recognizes extraordinary projects that benefit communities around the world. He is working to develop his app further to help cut waste in more parts of the country and enable retailers save money at the same time.

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