Photo Credit: Georgine Obwana
T he sight of food being thrown away simply because it has not been consumed gets me angry for reasons I imagine someone somewhere in this world is going hungry because they do not have what to eat. I remember while growing up my mother would not hesitate to lash us because we poured or threw food away that we failed to eat. She was very strict on food wastage till now that has never changed about her. Today I perfectly understand her reasons and can never be more grateful to what she instilled in us concerning food wastage.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Food waste refers to discarding food that is safe and nutritious for human consumption along the entire food supply chain, from primary production to end household consumer level. Food waste can be attributed to many potential causes ranging from: poor farmers harvesting crops before they mature due to famine or lack of money leading to loss in economic and nutritional values; lack of proper storage facilities and transportation; buying more food than its actually needed and serving large portion of meals than what we can finish among others.
One thing we are not aware of is that the food that is thrown away negatively affects our environment in a way that it ends up in landfills and during decomposition methane gas is emitted, a greenhouse gas that if not well managed can lead to potential environmental and Public Health Risks.
Avoiding food waste should be our priority and this can be achieved by doing the following: making a list of what we intend to buy; managing the amount of food we intend to cook; finding proper storage for perishable foods and also being creative with left-overs.
FAO discloses that World Hunger is on the rise yet an estimated one third of all food produced globally is either wasted or lost and a billion people go hungry. We all have a role to take on in reducing food waste not only for the sake of food but for the resources that went into producing it such as water, energy, labour and land. Government, the private sector and civil society should put in more effort in raising awareness on this global issue and work towards implementing actions that are geared towards addressing the root cause of the problem. It is thus, imperative that we recognize, realize and deference the value of food.