Data from the Akatu Institute point out that we waste about 15 million tons of food per year. Technological and habit changes can reverse the situation
The figures on food loss and waste in Brazil are around 15 million tons per year. The estimate was made by Instituto Akatu, which is a non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to raise awareness and mobilise society for conscious consumption. The figures are based on data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) and the Brazilian Association of City Cleaning and Waste Treatment Companies (Abrelpe), which indicate that 41 thousand tons of food produced in Brazil are not used.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food waste reaches 1.3 billion tonnes every year all over the world, which would be enough to serve about 800 million people worldwide who are now starving. In Brazil alone, there are more than 13 million hungry people, according to IBGE.
Food losses and waste represent an important scenario of the country’s food systems inefficiency. There is a need to reduce food losses from both supply and production chains, including post-harvest losses as well as food waste per capita in retail and consumption.
Food losses and waste come up throughout the entire agricultural value chain and at all stages of production until it reaches the table. The problem begins during the harvesting seasons, when losses can reach 30% of everything that is produced.
The challenge requires technological changes in production, harvesting, storage, processing, distribution, access to food and its consumption, as well as changes in consumer habits. An alternative to increase the food supply, without necessarily increasing the agricultural production area is the implementation of actions aimed at reducing losses and waste. Appropriate harvesting, proper handling, correct packaging, use of cold chain, proper transportation, well paved roads, efficient distribution logistics, proper storage, appropriate regulations and consumer habits change are some of the necessary items related to reduce losses and waste of food.
Among the crops grown, fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers are the most discarded of all – almost half of what is harvested is thrown away, according to FAO data. Among cereals, the waste is 30%. Among fish, beef and dairy products, discarding is as high as 20%.
Food losses and waste series
This article is the first in a series on food losses and waste in Brazil and all over the world. One of the topics that will be addressed during the conference at ANUFOOD Brasil, the Exclusive International Trade Fair for the Food and Beverage Industry, which will take place from 12th to 14th 2019. We intend to bring the topic for discussion and seek ways to mitigate the problem that could solve another even more serious: the starving part of the world’s population.
For further information go to www.anuga-brazil.com.br