One third of food produced in the world for human consumption every year that gets lost or wasted would be enough to feed the nearly one billion hungry population.
PUBLISHED ONJul 2018
The world produces enough food to feed everyone and yet nearly a billion people go to bed hungry every night. Why this scandalous state of affairs in a time of extraordinary technological, economic and agricultural breakthroughs?
The root cause lies in the economic and social inequality between rich and poor that keeps growing, according to the latest figures published by Oxfam International. Indeed, the gap between the most affluent and the rest of the world is widening - 80% of the money is owned by only 42 people whereas half of the population do not see any increase in their income. Other reasons point to the scarcity of land to grow food and lack of money to purchase food. Climate change is another contributing factor as it is pushing poor people to the limits of subsistence.
The most affected are women, children, indigenous people and minorities who experience severe hunger. Almost all of them live in developing countries with Asia and the Pacific Region being home to two thirds of the world’s hungry people
However, there is a growing awareness that it is feasible to eradicate hunger from our earth. A way out is the re-use of good wasted food. In reality, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted and lost. The same institution considers that the quantity of food produced in the world for human consumption every year that gets lost or wasted would be enough to feed the nearly one billion hungry population.
There are initiatives from institutions and civil society already taking place with the aim of reducing food loss and waste in both developing and industrialized countries. The food that is saved is re-channeled to those in need. An example of this is the global initiative “Save Food” promoted by FAO.
At the grassroots level, groups of volunteers are already re-utilizing unconsumed food and distributing it to the needy. Every day, they go out to collect surplus food from restaurants, hotels and supermarkets that otherwise would end up in the litter bin. They then store, select, pack, and distribute the food to the poor and hungry citizens.
The movement can be interpreted as a “sign of the times” and a realization of Jesus’ command to His disciples: “You give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14, 16) To re-use leftover food, thus reducing food waste, and offering one’s skills and time at the service of the community are within the reach of each individual.