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The transformation of the food system to overcome hunger – a global problem


To reduce hunger, the food system needs to be changed to prevent 17 percent of total food production from being wasted, as is currently happening. Credit: FAO
  • Opinions By Mario Lubetkin (Rome)
  • Inter Press Service

Based on the conclusions of the Food System Summit held virtually on 23 September, as well as its “hybrid” preparatory episode which took place in Rome in July, where there was a physical presence of 540 delegates and a virtual presence of more than 20,000 people. In the world, a growing number of personalities continue to progress in this reflection.

It will meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the international community by 2030, for which hunger and poverty eradication are considered priorities.

The transformation of the agro-food system should start with the normal consumers and the food they consume, where it is bought, how it is packaged, where it is dumped, all these things will affect the decision they make on this basis. The future of the planet, so the loss and waste of food must be reduced.

Globally, about 14 percent of food produced is lost in harvesting and retail sales, equivalent to a loss of $ 400 billion per year, while food waste is estimated to reach 17 percent of total production: 11 percent is wasted at home, 5 percent in food service establishments, and 2 percent in retail.

Pope Francis, in his message on World Food Day on October 16, recalls that “we now see a real opposition to food access: on the one hand, more than 3 billion people do not have access to nutritious food, and on the other, about 2 billion people are overweight or obese.” And because of the sedentary lifestyle. ”

“Our lifestyles and daily spending practices affect global and environmental dynamics, but if we want real change, we must urge producers and consumers to make ethical and sustainable decisions, and educate the younger generation about the important role they play.” Hunger is a reality, “Pontiff said.

And for that, he stressed, we must “start with our daily lives and simple gestures: getting to know our common home, protecting it and being aware of its importance, which should be the first step towards being the custodian and promoter of the environment.”

According to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the way food is produced, consumed and wasted is “a catastrophic consequence for our planet”, and “it is putting historical pressure on our natural resources and the environment” and “it is costing us billions every year.” Dollars, that “the power to change is in our hands”.

QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is adamant that efforts to achieve the projected SDGs for 2030 should be accelerated “with the aim of halving global food wastage and reducing food production and supply chain losses, including post-crop losses.” Mentioning that “there are only nine seasons (crops) left to do this.”

Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), recalled that food losses and waste were “a source of 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions”, meaning “valuable land and water resources are being used without work.”

He added that reducing food damage and waste would “slow down climate change, protect nature and increase food security at a time when we need it to happen.”

Dr. QU, head of the FAO, agrees and considers that “it is not possible to lose 75 billion cubic meters of water per year in fruit and vegetable production.”

FAO experts estimate that by 2030, 40 to 50 billion dollars a year will have to be invested to eradicate hunger.

In particular, they highlighted the implementation of low-cost and high-impact projects that could help millions of people better meet their food needs, primarily through research as well as development and digital innovation to achieve advanced technology agriculture.

These ideas and initiatives have already been added by the foreign ministers of the Group of 20 (G20) in Matera, Italy in June and the G20 agriculture ministers in Florence, Italy in September.

In those meetings, they stressed the value of forming alliances with civil society organizations, the private sector, especially agricultural producers, academics and scientists, as well as other actors, to exchange ideas and solutions at this stage of the Kovid-19 epidemic.

And instead, to project a post-Covid situation that would help countries revitalize with sustainability and resilience in strategic areas such as agriculture and food.

© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedSource: Inter Press Service



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