Food is one of the basic human necessities however, hunger is still one of the world’s most urgent development challenges. Over 795 million (12.9%) people of the world’s population do not have enough food to eat (food aid foundation). Food gives us the necessary nutrients needed to stay healthy and grow, food also supplies us with energy to work. Food is a major uniting factor amongst people of the world in almost all social gatherings there is a time to eat, sometimes we organize social gatherings just to share food. In other to meet this need 11% of the world’s land is used in the production of food (FAO), with over 30.7% of the world’s labor employed in the production process. Unfortunately, roughly one-third of the total food production is wasted annually.
Food waste isn’t just considered in the mere sense of food thrown out by consumers or retailers, it is viewed in a larger sense, which is along the supply chain. The food supply chain takes off at the point of production (farm), to the point of processing, transportation, and distribution, until it finally reaches restaurants or consumers. Along this chain, waste is considered in all aspects from the resources put in at the point of production such as land, water, fertilizers, chemicals, packaging, labor, and fuel/electricity/energy. Therefore, wasting food is wasting large resources, statistics show that a total amount of 250km3 water is used up.
What negative effect does food wastage have you may ask; you see, a total of 1.3billion tons of food is wasted annually which contributes 3.3 giga tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere resulting in global warming. This amount of wasted food can also feed around 3 billion people each year exceeding the number of hungry people in the world by nearly 4 times. In monetary terms, it can be summed up to $1 trillion-dollar worth of food being wasted.
The solution to this problem is illustrated in the food waste pyramid, the most preferred option in the food waste pyramid is to reduce waste, by buying just what we need, or ordering fewer portions when next we visit the restaurant. If by any chance we can’t help not having those excess, we donate them out to millions of hungry people out there. Any food which we have left and seems not to be consumable by humans be given to animals to eat.
One way or the other some form of waste is left even after using all these methods, so what do we do? Compost! It can be used in growing new crops or generating energy. Finally, the last option on the pyramid is disposal, well we hope with all these measures we do not have to get to this point. In addition to this pyramid, other measures which can be taken to reduce this waste are by investing in better storage facilities for farmers, retailers, and consumers and campaigns should be launched to educate people on the issue of food.
If you’re interested in learning more about food waste, click here