UN Report highlights 19% food waste while chronic hunger problems persist

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The United Nations (UN) have released a damning report which stated that 19% of the food produced globally in 2022, amounting to an eye watering 1.05 billion metric tons, went to waste. This is a disconcerting fact, especially since 783 million people face chronic hunger, a major issue that has not been resolved by international efforts and interventions.

Having been published on Wednesday, the UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index Report is responsible for checking how far along nations are in their goal to bring down their food waste to half.

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The first report of this nature was published by the United Nations in 2021 and revealed that 17% of the food produced globally in 2019 went to waste. This means that in 2019, the world wasted an estimated 931 million metric tons, which is an astounding figure in itself. According to those involved in penning the report, it must be considered that data from many nations was not available in the 2021 report.

The situation has improved in that regard as the United Nations managed to gain access to data from many of the nations which were not included in the previous report. This means that a direct comparison between the two reports would not be justified.

The UNEP and Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), an international charity, played a crucial role in the compilation of this report, having co-authored it.

Data was compiled from households, food service and retailers in a long list of nations which revealed that the average individual is responsible for wasting roughly 79 kgs of food annually. This would mean that at least 1 billion meals are wasted daily all over the world.

A major section of the waste, roughly 60%, comes from households, while 28% comes from food service operations and eateries of various sorts. Retailers complete the picture and are responsible for 12% of the food which is wasted.

Clementine O’Connor, one of the co-authors of the report who is from UNEP, stated the following, “It is a travesty, it doesn’t make any sense, and it is a complicated problem, but through collaboration and systemic action, it is one that can be tackled.”

This report is a stark reminder of the issue of chronic hunger which is worsening due to the far-reaching impact of the crisis in Haiti, the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, as well as the Ukraine war which has been the longest standing major conflict the world has seen in recent times.

Experts have warned that a famine is eminent in Gaza and Haiti is not to far behind on that very path.

Another worrying aspect of food waste ties into the resources and costs of producing that food in the first place and the subsequent effect the process has on global warming.

Land and water are key components for growing crops or raising animals for consumption which leads to the emission of greenhouse gases such as methane.

It has been estimated that the production of food is responsible for 30% of global warming since pre-industrial times. 8%-10% of greenhouse emissions are generated by food loss and waste. This figure comes second only to two nations in the world, the United States and China.

According to Fadila Jumare, a project associate at Busara Center for Behavioral Economics who has studied prevention of food waste in Kenya and Nigeria, the situation continues to get worse for those who are already feeling the effects of food insecurity the most.

Brian Roe, a food waste researcher at Ohio State University, stated the following, “The key takeaway is that reducing the amount of food that is wasted is an avenue that can lead to many desirable outcomes — resource conservation, fewer environmental damages, greater food security, and more land for uses other than as landfills and food production.”

The latest report suggests that positive changes have been seen in low and middle-income countries but it is richer nations which have failed to affect a meaningful change which suggests that new policies must be introduced.

John Mukuhi, the co-founder and executive director of Food Banking Kenya, stated the following, “We positively impact the society by providing nutritious food and also positively impact the environment by reducing the emission of harmful gases.”

Ana Allen
Ana Allenhttp://writeups24.com
Anna Allen, news writer at Writeups24, is a Harvard graduate with a passion for journalism. With her keen eye for detail and insatiable curiosity, she captures the essence of global stories. Anna's writing informs and delves into cultural nuances. To reach Anna, you can email contact@writeups24.com

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