Whether it may be a spoonful or not
- 1 Article
- Age 19
I was out buying vegetables with my mother one day, and what I saw was quite surprising. Kilograms of food and vegetables were being dumped into a truck waiting outside the store. The fruits and vegetables had lost their freshness, and began showing signs of spoilage, leading to their disposal. And that's when I thought... if this much food is wasted at one supermarket alone, what about all of the food in the city of Chennai? What about India? How about the world?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), roughly one-third of the food produced in the world is wasted or gets lost (approx. 1.3 billion tonnes). Every year, consumers in developed, rich nations waste 222 million tonnes of food which is roughly near the net production of food in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is 230 million tonnes.
How could we stop, or at least limit the wastage of such a precious commodity like food? We speak of providing food for the needy but we, ourselves, are wasting significant quantities of food. Whether it may be a spoonful or not, it is these spoonfuls of food wasted by millions of people around the world that contributes to this massive wastage of food.
Food wastage occurs in multiple stages beginning at harvesting the crop and ends at the consumption of the end product. In developing countries, food waste and losses occurs mainly at early stages of the food supply chain, where problems involving storage and cooling of the produce. In developed nations, majority of the loss occurs in the latter stages of the process, such as processing, packaging and retail. This is largely influenced by consumer behaviour (eg. preferring large tomatoes over smaller ones)
Addressing these problems would involve the large-scale implementation of different schemes. One such scheme in developing nations is investments made by individuals to increase the standard of food storage which would significantly decrease the wastage. This would increase the amount of food that reaches the market. Similarly, reduction in consumer wastage in developed nations would mean that more food would be available to people.
My school follows a strict no-tolerance policy towards wastage of food. Students and teachers alike are not allowed to throw away food that they have not eaten. This brings about a sense of "take what you need, nothing more, nothing less." In my personal opinion, I feel that this thought should be instilled in each and every single one of us, as when we make a fuss about finishing the vegetables on our plate, there are people who don't have access to even a meal a day.