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World Bank Sounds Alarm on Massive food Wastage

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Last Updated: Oct 4, 2016

World Bank has raised an alarm that between a quarter and a third of total food production goes to waste. This is in reference to an estimate from live interviews on food wastage on Tuesday this week.

First world countries waste more food compared to developing nations with total amounting to around 11 billion metric tons annually. A quarter of global food wastage occurs in South and Southeast Asia where close to 90% of wastage occurs during production, storage, and transport. However, consumers waste almost 61% of food in North America and Oceania.

Latin American ranks at the bottom when it comes to food wastage with only about 15% of its annual production going down the drain.

Jose Cuesta, World Bank Senior Economist drafted some measures to curb food wastage including optimizing production methods, investing in infrastructures such as road and refrigeration, and encouraging retailers and consumer on the need to stem food wastages.

Noting that they are aware that the richer countries waste more food on per capita basis, Cuesta also made it clear that even the poor countries waste food. He fielded questions that came from different countries including U.S., Netherlands, and Indonesia in an online chat conducted on 27th February during the release of the World Bank’s quarterly Food Price Watch. There were also observations that food prices fell by 11% annually due to increased production.

Cuesta noted that food donation is good solution that needs improvements. But most importantly, changing the attitude can hugely contribute in places that are related to about a third of all food going to waste in the developed world.

Some contributors asked about how manufacturers aided in the wastage sighting false expiry dates and whether there was a link between reducing food wastage and improving food security based on academic evidence.

With Cuesta, firm temporarily solutions are rare, but acknowledged that key problem is awareness and political willingness among consumers.

He noted that there can’t be any incentives or regulations if the society does not demand them, adding that simple technical solutions such as making food donation easier may fail if there is no appetite in doing so.

There was a conference in Rome last week where the United Nation’s Food organization (FAO) discussed food wastage in North Africa. In 2013, the World Bank committed $8.1 billion to agriculture, representing 12% of its annual total lending.

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