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Wastage

A new report that quantifies the total amount of food lost on farms globally revealed an estimated 2.5 billion tons of food goes uneaten around the world each year. That figure is an increase of approximately 1.2 billion tons compared to established estimates of 1.3 billion tons of food wasted annually. The new estimates indicated that of all the food grown, approximately 40 percent goes uneaten which is higher than the previously estimated 33 percent.

Published by the World Wildlife Fund and British supermarket giant Tesco, “Driven to Waste” is the first quantification of total on-farm food losses since 2011. It aims to help provide a clearer picture of the scale of food loss and waste from farm to fork and at the same time demonstrate how imperative that this stage is no longer overlooked in efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Producing food uses a huge amount of land, water and energy, so wasted food significantly impacts climate change. With this new data, food waste is estimated to contribute approximately 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions which is equivalent to nearly twice the annual emissions produced by all the cars driven in the USA and Europe.

Food waste also deprives millions of people who go hungry all over the world of much needed food and nutrients. If the food can be used properly instead of wasted, the issue of hunger could be drastically minimized. “Driven to Waste” overturns a long-held belief that food loss on farms is only an issue among less affluent regions with lower levels of industrialization. Even the rich countries contribute to the problem of global harvest waste.

Pete Pearson, Global Food Loss and Waste Initiative lead of the WWF, said over 50 percent of the food that goes uneaten is lost on farms.

Tackling food losses at all stages, including on the farm, can help mitigate climate change, reduce pressure to convert nature, and help achieve food security. The country’s entire food supply chain will need to be reevaluated and reformed if these losses and wastage that we have come to consider as normal are to be further reduced so that the food that we produce will go into tummies instead of being a waste of resources and a bane to the environment.*

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