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16 Oct 13 06:48

Happy world food day! Today we celebrate global food production, but maybe "celebration" is the wrong word. The world food day presents a good possibility to think about our food production, our food consumption, involved transport routes, and food waste.

Although food production has increased over the last decades and will continue to increase is there enough food for everybody? Do we have to talk about food security? Yes! The availability of food can be interrupted through manifold events. Droughts, floods, but also shipping disruptions, fuel shortages and economic instability can lead to people going to bed hungry. Additionally mankind is expected to grow from today 7 billion to 9 billion people in 2050 putting even more pressure on food production.

Go and watch this beautiful movie on youtube that brings the topic right on your plate. There a multiple ways to strengthen food security. We can protect individual farmers through micro insurance; this can help to absorb weather events – too little rain, or too much rain. Micro insurance can - with the help of modern techniques such as satellite data and mobile phones - be a valuable solution even for farmers at very remote places.

It is not surprising that one of the eight Millennium Development Goals from the UN is eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. The target is to halve the proportion of people going hungry between 1990 and 2015. To achieve this goal we need to work together and share knowledge and engage in initiatives. Collaboration between private companies, governments and academia, as well as big institutions like the UN and the World Bank can bring us to the next level.


Category: Food security: Farming, Food industry, Food waste


4 Comments

Alicia Montoya - 16 Oct 2013, 12:52 p.m.

Happy World Food Day, indeed!

Here are some good news from UK supermarket giant Tesco:
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/16/tesco-surplus-food-banks-fareshare-charities

I wonder if Tesco is also rethinking its stance on freaky looking food to cut food waste further: https://openminds.swissre.com/stories/371/

But for me, there are bigger issues we need to think of in parallel, such as: how do we make sure that countries producing food for the rich West get to keep and enjoy (some of) their produce? How can we make sure that we're managing food sources sustainable (e.g. NOT like Spain manages fisheries, for instance). And how secure is our food really in the context of the IPCC's latest report on climate change?

Many in the West believe food safety is only relevant to poorer, distant nations. Clearly, it's not. We're all in this together. Securing healthy food for all will require us all to engage and partner to build sustainable solutions. From citizen & household behaviors, to corporate practices, to government and international institutions' policies and agreements.

Food for thought... ;)

Karthik Sampath - 16 Oct 2013, 6:27 p.m.

Great blog on a very important topic Lea. Like you said, nothing much to celebrate on World Food Day rather a time for introspection. I came across a BBC article a few weeks ago about how much food we waste simply due to confusing food date labels.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-24305902

http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/foodpolicyinitiative/files/2013/09/dating-game-report.pdf

It seems the US throws away over 40% of its food much of it since due to foods going past their "best before dates" though it is edible long past it. These dates throw up many interesting questions such as: Are manufacturers of packaged food being over cautious? Should they cut down on supply if foods with a short shelf life end up in bins more often than not? Is there a way to monitor food that is being thrown away for such reasons? And who ultimately decides on these dates? What kind of date regulations do we have?

It's a fine line between food safety and food security. Would be nice to know what are the food labeling practices in other parts of the world too.

Alicia Montoya - 16 Oct 2013, 8:23 p.m.

The US has the same issue: http://www.thinkeatsave.org/index.php/take-action/find-out-how

What's great about initiatives like #thinkeatsave is that they're offering simple solutions that everybody can apply.

With food, as with many other global challenges, these issues are only macro effects of our cumulative individual actions. So let's all stop playing prisoner's dilemma and have the courage to act first and show the way to others. That checklist should be on everybody's fridge. If you're lucky enough to have a fridge, that is :(

Paritosh - 20 Oct 2013, 3:55 p.m.

Wastage seems to be the culprit here and since poor who know the vlaue of food, won't waste it, the blame of food wastage lies squarely on the people who could afford it and which means us!
We need to learn our bodily requirement and eat only when and what is required by us. Perhaps the people who could afford it, should feel that hunger which is faced by people who do not see food on days at end. By fasting once a year/month/week we could achieve exactly that feeling and perhaps learn the value of food! May a better sense prevail.


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