Hunger Overview

Hunger Overview

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According to the FAO report titled: Food Wastage Footprints: Impacts on Natural Resources (2013) (please click here to download):

•    India and China are the major contributors of the water footprint of cereals in their respective regions.

•    Wastage of cereals in Asia is a significant problem, with major impacts on carbon emissions and water and land use. Rice's profile is particularly noticeable, given its high methane emissions combined with a large level of wastage.

•    Fruit wastage contributes significantly to water waste in Asia, Latin America, and Europe, while large volumes of vegetable wastage in industrialized Asia, Europe, and South and South East Asia translates into a large carbon footprint for that sector. Excluding Latin America, high-income regions are responsible for about 67 per cent of all meat waste.

•    FAO estimates that each year, approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted.

•    Food that is produced but not eaten each year guzzles up a volume of water equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River and is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases to the planet’s atmosphere. Similarly, 1.4 billion hectares of land – 28 per cent of the world’s agricultural area – is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted.

•    Beyond the environmental impacts, food wastage costs some $750 billion annually to food producers.

•    Fifty-four percent of the world's food wastage occurs "upstream" during production, post-harvest handling and storage, according to FAO's study. Forty-six percent of it happens "downstream," at the processing, distribution and consumption stages.

•    As a general trend, developing countries suffer more food losses during agricultural production, while food waste at the retail and consumer level tends to be higher in middle- and high-income regions -- where it accounts for 31-39 percent of total wastage -- than in low-income regions (4-16 percent).

•    In developing countries, significant post-harvest losses in the early part of the supply chain are a key problem, occurring as a result of financial and structural limitations in harvesting techniques and storage and transport infrastructure, combined with climatic conditions favorable to food spoilage.

 


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