Ghanaian chef offers free soup because more struggle to get food

ACCRA (Reuters) – Stormy clouds hovered over a large zinc shed outside Ghana’s capital, Accra, as market porters sat on overturned metal bowls, frustrating the lack of business as rain deterred shoppers from nearby stalls.

Then a growling sound broke the silence when gourmet chef Elijah Addo stopped in a food truck and began preparing hot bowls of beef stew.

Eyes widened as the 31-year-old said that they were free and bright faces lined up behind the car.

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Addo said it has two primary missions, to reduce hunger and eliminate food waste. With food prices rising 30% annually in May, he’s finding that more and more people are turning to his food truck, including those with jobs and homes.

“It started with a disabled man I met in 2011, who was collecting unused food from the hotel I worked at for his colleagues on the street,” Addo explained.

“When I asked him why he did it, he said to me: If I don’t, who will?”

Inspiration, Addo founded the largest food bank in West Africa, started a school feeding program and organized fortnightly food truck distributions in poor neighborhoods in Accra.

Addo’s organisation, Food For All Africa, has distributed about 3 million meals since 2015. About 40% of the ingredients are unsold stock from supermarkets, wholesalers and farmers that would otherwise end up in landfills.

Food For All’s predecessor organization, Chefs For Change, found in 2014 that more than 35% of Ghana’s food is wasted.

But more than 28% of the population of Ghana, one of West Africa’s largest economies, can spend no more than $0.83 a day on food, according to 2016 government data.

That was before rampant inflation broke an 18-year record in May, marking a full year of exponential price growth that the government has been struggling to curb.

“What we do is important,” Addo said after a morning of cooking. “It is part of building a stronger social system for Ghana.”

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(Reporting by Cooper Envin and Francis Kokoroko) Writing by Cooper Envin; Editing by Sophia Christensen, Alexandra Hudson

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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