Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The latest annual State of Food and Agriculture report published by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted every year while more than 820 million people in the world go hungry every day.
The report contains fresh estimates on the scale of the problem, enabling a better understanding of the challenge and suggesting possible solutions by looking into why and where food loss and waste take place.
“How can we allow food to be thrown away when more than 820 million people in the world continue to go hungry every day?” asked FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu in the foreword of the agency’s report.
The FAO report made a distinction between food losses, which occur at the stage when food is harvested up until the moment it is sold; and food waste, which occurs during the sale and consumption of food.
Although there may be an economic loss, food diverted to other economic uses, like animal feed, is not considered as food loss or waste, nor are the inedible parts of food products.
Food loss and waste occur at the farm, storage, transit, shop and home. Losses include inadequate harvesting time, climate conditions, practices applied at harvest and handling, and challenges in marketing produce. Inadequate storage and decisions made at earlier stages of the supply chain that cause products to have a shorter life also cause significant losses.
While governments need to do more to prevent food loss by investing in programs and initiatives to make harvesting, storage and transport of food products more efficient; the private sector must also contribute by being more conscious and deliberate when it comes to the purchase and consumption of food products in order to reduce food waste.
A society that wastes 30 percent of its food while almost a billion people go hungry everyday must summon the determination and the means to change these wasteful systems and habits. All of us contribute to this irresponsible use of resources, albeit in varying degrees. We can all reduce the food waste in our homes by making deliberate and conscious choices in the purchase, preparation and consumption of food.
Reducing food loss and wastage benefits the entire planet, including everyone living in it. Why aren’t we trying harder to lead less wasteful lives?*