Tame food wastage or risk hunger crisis beyond 2050 – FAO

Tame food wastage or risk hunger crisis beyond 2050 - FAO
Tame food wastage or risk hunger crisis beyond 2050 - FAO

Africa-Press – Mozambique. The food shortage crisis around the globe will go beyond 28 years from now if the current production rates remain constant as wastage surge.

The latest report by Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) says there is need to boost food production by an approximate of 60 per cent.

The shortage is attributed to the growing population and food wastage even as over 9.5 billion people are being expected to be fed by 2050.

In Kenya, the population has since grown from eight million in 1960 to over 53 million in 2021.

This is a 577.2 per cent growth in 61 years with the highest increase recorded in 1982 with 3.94 per cent growth.

Although, since then the growth rate has been decreasing with the latest annual growth rate being at 2.28 per cent.

The growing populations is said to pose considerable pressure on food, rendering most of the population hungry.

Kenya, Just Like its neighbours in the horn of Africa, is experiencing extreme drought conditions which is a threat to food production.

This has seen almost 3.5 million people in the country face severe hunger.

Latest World Bank Pulse shows one out of every three households in Kenya sleeps hungry due to the high cost of living.

It further indicates that the share of households unable to access staple food in the country has increased to 36 per cent from November last year to March.

It is on this backdrop that the UN food agency is calling on the world to reinvent ways to feed its populations sustainably with the available resources.

It proposes reduction of food wastage as a way of fighting hunger, with Rockefeller saying that one-third of all food produced is never consumed while 1.2 billion people go to bed hungry or under-nourished, and global economic losses mount into the trillions.

“The way we produce, process, distribute, and consume our food at certain levels has turned out to be wasteful,” UN says.

Approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted, the report reads in part.

Industrialised and developing countries as of last year are said to have damaged or wasted food of quantity 670 and 630 million tonnes respectively.

The Food Waste Index Report 2021 by UNEP and Waste and Resources Action Programme(WRAP) indicates that every Kenyan throws away an average of 99 kilograms of food every year.

The report shows Kenya wastes a total of 5.2 tonnes of food every year, enough to feed millions of the population.

“This translates to Sh72 billion loss every season when food loss and waste is not addressed,” FAO Kenya notes.

The lobby further estimates that food losses in sub-Saharan Africa adds up to Sh432 billion annually.

Despite the losses and waste, the lobby also accredits that as of last year, 33 per cent of producers in the country had reduced loss and waste after harvest.

Globally, with the world wastes at about 1.4 billion tonnes yearly, the United States discards almost 40 million tonnes, a record more than any other country in the world.

Comparably, in the two countries with populations of more than a billion people, China wastes approximately 91.6 million tonnes of food per year while India discards 68.8 million tonnes.

According to UN, Food losses occur mainly in developing countries, but this could be reversed by improving infrastructure and increasing investments in the production, harvest, storage, post-harvest, and processing phases.

“Saving part of the food we squander means we would no longer have to produce 60 per cent more, therefore, if we could reduce food waste and loss by 25 per cent, we would have additional food for about 500 million people a year,” UN says.

This is a move towards healthier, more sustainable diets which would have multiple benefits for public health and environmental sustainability and in general curbing food insecurity.

Furthermore, fighting this crisis with farming as the only usual approach would have a massive impact on our natural resources.

Nations are therefore being advised to embark on a greener revolution where crop production could be increased sustainably by using a range of techniques that are more in tune with ecosystems.

This by minimising the use of external inputs which in turn will help farmers cope with the weather extremes that increasingly accompany climate change, thereby enhancing their resilience.

However, a report by UN slightly differs with FAO’s drive to increased productivity in curbing food insecurity as it notes that producing enough food to feed the world will not guarantee food security.

The report further states that although hunger exists today, there is enough food for all and even by increasing agricultural output in 60 per cent by 2050, there still would be about 300 million people going hungry due to lack of proper access to food.

Access has been termed key in combating hunger since most often, the reason people are undernourished is because they cannot grow enough food for themselves or do not have enough money to buy it.

“With over 70 per cent of the world’s poor living in rural areas, intervening against hunger at the global level is important, but we must also act powerfully at the local level because that is where people live and eat,” UN notes.

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