Food Wastage - we should not ignore. - Seeker's Thoughts

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Food Wastage - we should not ignore.

One-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food gets wasted. 

Food losses and waste amount to roughly 680 US billion dollars in industrialized countries and 30 billion US dollars in developing countries.
According to the food and agriculture organization (FAO), fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers, have the highest wastage rates of any food. 

Global quantitative food losses and waste per year are roughly 30% for cereals, 40-50% for root crops, fruits, and vegetables, 20% for oilseeds, meat, and dairy, plus 35% for fish.

Worldwide food wastage
Globally without even realizing it every year, people in countries waste almost all food, about 222 million tonnes, as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa 230 million tonnes.
The amount of food wasted every year is equivalent to more than half of the world’s annual cereals crop 2.3 billion tonnes in 2009/2010
Per person waste by consumers is between 95-115 kg a year in Europe and North America, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, throw food only 6-11kg a year.

Also, read - deaths by consuming Trans fat.

Food wastage in a Country like India
According to UN estimates, 40 percent of the food produced in India is either lost or wasted. However, this food wastage isn’t limited to one level alone but perforates through every stage, from harvesting, processing, packaging, and transporting to the end stage of consumption.
An eye-opening revelation had been made by a report cited in corporate social responsibility. 

Indians waste food as much food as the whole of the United Kingdom consumes. In a nation like India, where millions still sleep hungry on the streets, it’s not a good statistic.

Indian population waste a lot of food in their daily routine; the bigger the wedding, the larger the party, and the colossal the waste.

People in India spend millions on food, a huge source of food wastage; all fancy food goes into the dustbin. Surprisingly educated population throws food mostly.
It seems food wastage is a part of Indian culture; people are so ignorant they don’t value food and maybe never felt hunger.

Even after awareness around this has grown in the last few years. But throwing food is a tendency of a common Indian.

About 21 million tonnes of wheat are wasted in India, and 50% of all food worldwide meets the same fate and never reaches the needy.

According to the agriculture ministry, INR 50,000 crores worth of food produced is wasted every year in the country.


Why food wastage is a problem?

Even though the world produces enough food to feed twice the world’s present population, food wastage is ironically behind the billions of malnourished people.

The number of hungry people in India has increased by 65 million more than the population of France. 
According to a survey by BHOOK, an organization working towards reducing hunger in 2013, 20 crore Indians sleep hungry on any given night. About 7 million children died in 2012 because of hunger and malnutrition.
Acres of land is deforested to grow food that has environmental complications. Approximately 45% of India’s land is degraded primarily due to deforestation, unsustainable agriculture practices, and excessive groundwater extraction to meet the food demand.
300 million barrels of oil are used to produce food that is ultimately wasted.


What exactly is food waste?

The history of food waste is closely linked to globalization. In an ever more networked world, supply chains get longer, and everything is available everywhere – Indian mangoes in Germany and American apples in Indonesia – the whole year-round. 

On that often- long journey from farm to table, food is lost or wasted at every stage, and fresh foods such as fruits, vegetable, dairy, and meat are particularly vulnerable.

“Food waste” and “food loss” are commonly used terms but don’t quite mean the same thing.

1-    “Food loss” typically refers to food lost in earlier production stages, such as harvest, storage, and transportation.

2-    “Food waste” refers to items that are fit for human consumption but thrown away, often at supermarkets or consumers.
There is another problem called food loss. What is that? Let’s understand
Some food is lost before crops ever leave the farm. Reasons include:
-       Farmers over the plant to control for adverse weather and end up with surplus if conditions are favorable.

-       Retailers’ high aesthetic standards for fruits and vegetables mean “nonperfect” produce might not even make it to the truck.

-       In low-income countries, limitation in harvesting technology can result in damaged produce or poor yield.

In each case, crops are sold for animal feed or simply discarded.
Produce is also lost after harvest, handling, storage, processing, and transport.
In low-income regions, the causes are often related to poor infrastructure, equipment limitations, or insufficient cold storage. Imagine, for example, milk in Bangladesh transported by rickshaw to processing plants, exposed to the hot sun while slowly crossing narrow, bumpy roads. It is not uncommon for fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and fish to spoil in a hot climate and become unsafe to eat.

Also, read - malnutrition is one of the biggest challenges for India.

According to experts from the University of Birmingham, the lack of a sustainable cold chain contributes to 4.4 billion GBP worth of fruit and vegetables being wasted annually in Indian. These issues disproportionately affect inhabitants of low-income countries.

Food wasting around the world – A little comparison

 Each year, the Food Sustainability Index publishes data on how the world's nations fare when it comes to throwing away food. For many of the planet’s most populated countries, it takes an informed estimate of each citizen's amount is leaving uneaten – and the variation is stark.
Those in Greece are the most resourceful, closely followed by China. The latter might throw away 61 billion kilograms of food, but spread across its huge population, this accounts for just 44kg per citizen; low by international standards. Other countries to rank well include India, Brazil, and the United Kingdom, where its residents waste an average of 74.7kg of food per head.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Sweden wastes a surprising 200kg per person each year. A little behind them, the United States throws away 91 billion kilograms of food annually – more than twice the UK, France, Germany, and Japan combined. Per head though, they’re far from worst. Australia throws away a colossal 361kg per person each year – that’s more than eight times the amount thrown away by your average Greek.
Thankfully, no matter what position these countries fall in, there’s evidence of a shift in attitude, with exciting new concepts seeking to end food waste right across the globe. You can read about some of these and view the full ranking of countries below.

How have countries successfully stopped food-wasting?
Supermarkets must donate unsold food items to charity or farmers to convert them into fertilizers in France. Canada recovers unused food items from manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, etc. and delivers these food ingredients to cook over 22,000 meals every day.
Sweden implemented a recycling revolution, wherein less than 1% of household waste ends up in landfills. Of the 4.4 million tons of household waste produced every year, 2.2 million is converted into energy.
How each country can fully achieve zero food-wasting?

People across the planet are kicking into action in a bid to make our use and consumption of food smarter, more sustainable, and kinder to the environment. 

From charities to major organizations, governments to citizens, innovative ideas are changing our relationship with food. And as a result of new initiatives, technology, and changes to the law, many corners of the world are beginning to address the food wastage problem.

However, there is a long way to achieve zero food wastage, especially in developing countries, there is a need to bring new change with innovations.

For example – “Turn waste into worth” There are already quite a few initiatives transforming leftover into new products: coffee cherries into flour, producing award-winning ale from – leftover bread, turning restaurant scraps into- bioplastic and home food waste into- biogas- essentially using food scraps to produce household energy.                             
According to the FAO, home composting can divert up to 150 kg of food waste per household annually.

Most importantly, educate and people aware of food safety.
Teach people and especially kids not to waste food aware of food-wasting consequences, teach them the value and importance of food, and stop them from serving unlimited food on their plates. Stop them throwing food on the floor or in the garbage. Food industries should also work to put labels in products for not wasting food.

 Aware them to improve their meal planning, become informed about date labeling, and only throw away food when truly inedible. Better yet, they can compost. Composting diverts waste from landfills and therefore reduces methane emissions... 


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