The global population surge calls for increased, urgent and innovative efforts to substantially ramp up agricultural production, improve global supply chains, decrease  losses and wastages, and ensure equitable access to nutritious food.

About one-third (approximately 1.3 billion tonnes) of annual world food production for human consumption gets lost or wasted, while in Africa the inefficient and poor storage facilities as well as insufficient infrastructure are responsible for high food wastage figures.

Contextually, in sub-Saharan Africa alone, post-harvest losses are estimated to be worth US $ 4 billion annually, enough to feed at least 48 million people ( Cumulative food losses in Africa ,in 2013, could feed 300 million people, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA, 2013).

BUSINESSUN in a report ranked the food wastage in Nigeria as highest in Africa. According to the report, a Nigerian disposes at least 189 kilogrammes of food every year, amounting to a total of 37.9 million (37,941,470) tonnes every 12 months.

However, many negative economic and environmental impacts are associated with food loss and wastage. Economically, food losses represent a wasted investment which reduces farmers’ income and increases consumers’ expenses. Environmentally, it is an inefficient use of resources with negative impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions and diminished natural ecosystem.

Furthermore, another study by FAO shows that agriculture accounts for about 3.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. To put the figure in perspective, if it was a country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter, only exceeded by China and the United States. Additionally, large quantities of water and fertilisers go into food production which goes to waste.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to focus attention on opportunities that will allow for a more sustainable food future. Big inefficiencies suggest big savings opportunities. It has been estimated that if the current rate of food loss and waste was cut in half―from 24 percent to 12 percent―by the year 2050, the world would need about 1,314 trillion kilocalories (kcal) less food per year.

Reducing food losses will help to recover the economy and reduce financial burdens on the world’s most vulnerable people. According to the World Bank, one per cent reduction in post-harvest losses in Sub-Saharan Africa could lead to economic gains of $40 million each year benefitting the smallholder farmers.

From a food security perspective, reducing food losses and wastages is a major opportunity to close the calorie gap between where the world is now and where it needs to be, where the planet is sustainably fed. The world is said to face a 70 per cent gap between the crop calories currently being produced and what is needed to feed a projected population of more than 9.5 billion people in 2050. Preventing these losses and wastages can help close the gap, strengthen livelihoods and improve food security— without requiring any additional environmental costs.

In conclusion, if the targets are met, the resultant effect will not only boost food security, but reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save land and water. Curbing food wastages is a   means to achieve the SDG Goal 2 of Zero Hunger.


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