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One Way To Fight Hunger: Stop Wasting Food

November 7, 2014

As usual, when it comes to waste (or consumption) per capita, North America leads.

Politicians, agricultural experts, and scientists are all fretting about how to feed the 9-10 billion humans that will blanket the planet in 2050. And environmentalists are having nightmares about what it will do the earth.

Here’s one strategy that offers a big head-start on the problem:

The global population is expected to grow from about seven billion today to over nine billion by 2050. Producing enough food for this population will require a 70 percent increase in agricultural production and $83 billion per year of investments in developing country agriculture.

Yet, one third of the food produced globally—about 1.3 billion tons of food per year—is never consumed at all. This food is wasted or lost at some step of the supply chain between when it leaves a farm and when a consumer would typically eat it.

The solution to feeding a growing population is not simply to produce more food, but also to save, preserve, or recycle the food already produced. Cutting current food wastage in half, for example, would yield enough food to feed one billion people—half of the additional population expected by 2050.

Cutting back on waste is a general theme which will serve the human species well over the coming century. Cutting back food loss and waste will also fill some bellies and reduce pressure on the planet.

Now, if only I could get my kids to eat that bruised banana.


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