An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally annually, one third of all food produced for human consumption, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, yet despite more than enough food being produced to feed the global population, still more than 690 million people go hungry according to a report released by United Nations food agencies.
So if there is enough food produced in the world to feed everyone, how come we continue to see very many people languish in hunger and are malnourished? One of the most serious threats to the environment surprisingly we have been facing in the recent years is food wastage although it is something that many of us do not give that much thought. Put up your hand if you are guilty of food wastage, (my hand is up, if that is of any consolation.)
Why is food lost?
Some food is lost before crops even leave the farm for reasons like; farmers over planting as a way of preparing for adverse weather and in the end they get surplus when conditions are favourable; retailers’ high aesthetic standards for fruits and vegetables mean “non-perfect” produce might not even make it to the truck so these are discarded and finally limitations in post harvesting technology especially in low-income countries thus resulting in damaged produce or poor yield. Some food is lost on the shelves of supermarkets and in pantries at homes because the food expires before it can be utilised.
Since today is day 4 of our creatives week I decided to dip into my world and share with you some of the creative ways I propose food waste needs to be reduced especially here in Uganda. Here are some of my thoughts.
- Donate unsold food
Very many supermarkets lose food that is unsold and yet has expired, so why does such food go to the bins when it can be donated to people that can make good use of it. This can be done through donation drives call it Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Let us share the surplus.
2. Turn waste into worth
The trick is making use of left overs to make something amazing so that food is not thrown away. If you have left over meat, can it be used to make meat balls? In the same line food waste can be used to make biogas that is used to generate power that can be used for cooking purposes.
3. Educate people on food safety
We need to increase consumer awareness on when food is still safe to eat and the interpretation of food labels. Public awareness and food waste education campaigns will go a very long way in reducing food waste
4. Give unused food to charity
How about we have an organization that mobilizes individuals and community, then gathers unused food from grocery stores, hotels, and other businesses and give these to low-income residents, including victims of abuse and psychiatric patients. This will not only reduce food waste but also improve food security.
5. Don’t throw the ugly vegetables and fruits
We can seek out for ugly vegetables at grocery stores, farmers markets, and restaurants and turn them into delectable dishes that can be sold for profit. ‘Ugly fruits can be used to make the most delicious smoothies and no one can even notice that the least desirable fruits were used. I need to emphasise that this does not mean we are using rotten produce, no!
Do you have any creative ways you can think of to reduce food wastage? Share with us.