According to the FAO , World Hunger is on the rise; yet, an estimated 1/3 of all food produced globally is lost or goes to waste. We all have a part to play in reducing food loss and waste, not only for the sake of the food but for the resources that go into it. FAO is partnering with governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society to raise awareness on the issues and to implement actions to address the root of the problem. FAO is also working with governments to develop policies to reduce food loss and waste.
Food loss refers to any food that is lost in the supply chain between the producer and the market. This may be the result of pre-harvest problems, such as pest infestations, or problems in harvesting, handling, storage, packing or transportation. Some of the underlying causes of food loss include the inadequacy of infrastructure, markets, price mechanisms or even the lack of legal frameworks. Tomatoes crushed during transport because of improper packaging is one example of food loss.
Food waste, on the other hand, refers to the discarding or alternative (non-food) use of food that is safe and nutritious for human consumption.
Food is wasted in many ways:
• Fresh produce that deviates from what is considered optimal in terms of shape, size and color, for example is often removed from the supply chain during sorting operations.
•Disposal of food items close to the expiry date by retailers
•Huge left overs from household kitchens thrown in the bins
•Less food and food waste would lead to more efficient land use and better water resource management with positive influence on the society and environment at large.
The causes of food waste or loss are numerous and occur at the stages of producing, processing, retailing and consuming.
The United Nation has a list of goals called The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, which were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
The 17 SDGs are integrated—that is, they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.
The Second goal addresses Zero Hunger. Although the number of undernourished people has dropped by almost half in the past two decades because of rapid economic growth and increased agricultural productivity. Many developing countries that used to suffer from famine and hunger can now meet their nutritional needs. Central and East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean have all made huge progress in eradicating extreme hunger.
Unfortunately, extreme hunger and malnutrition remain a huge barrier to development in many countries.
According to an Article by the Guardian in 2018,
The amount of food that is wasted each year will rise by a third by 2030, when 2.1bn tonnes will either be lost or thrown away, equivalent to 66 tonnes per second, according to new analysis. Each year, 1.6bn tonnes of food worth approximately $1.2tn, goes to waste – about one third of the food produced globally.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that about 815 million of the 7.6 billion people in the world (10.7%), were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2016.
Food waste and loss accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the FAO.
Unless urgent action is taken by governments, companies and consumers, the report warns there is little chance of meeting UN targets to halve food waste by 2030. Over this period, food loss and waste is projected to increase in most regions around the world, with a significant spike in Asia, according to the study.
This is such a HUGE deal and people are still not getting it. As we celebrate food week, everyone especially youths in Agriculture should come to further understand the need to understand the Value chain, how to get involved and help curb food waste and lost.
The aim of this article is not to throw depressing figures out there or say that Africa is suffering or the world is going into oblivion. This is to show the reality of things, help everyone understand the facts and encourage people to get involved.
HOW CAN YOU BE INVOLVED?
•Buy just what you need; it’s simple yet profound.
•Instead of throwing the left overs in the bin, compost. Then reuse to grow some food in your backyard
•Events can be organized to sensitize the public on the danger of food wastage. A lot of things are happening because people have no clear cut knowledge of the implications
•Liaise with a shelter home to give away materials that are left and not necessarily left over meals
• The local authorities can have compensation packages for those who make the most of recycling their materials the most.
Here is a list of Technologies helping to fight food waste.
As we celebrate #WorldFoodDay2019, what other ways of getting involved were not mentioned?