Global adversities need human strategies to end them and promote Food Security.… As Climate Change continues, adaptation and mitigation stand vital.
Byron Mutingwende, Nevson Mpofu
Food wastage and loss amounting to billions of US dollars lost annually throughout the World explains how lack of policies on food contributes to absolute poverty and social and economic challenges .The fact is 1/3 of food produced worldwide is lost or wasted. This constitutes of 1, 3 billion tons of food wasted and has a total cost of US2, 6 trillion per year, 700 billion of environmental costs and US900 billions of social costs according to World Food Program.
This tells the story that the world lacks sustainable food management strategies and policies which some experts around the world blaming the lack of policy reform in the United Nations family like the World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organisation. Besides, several Regions of the World in their respective continents must draw up on policy framework, reform and implementation .Once put in place, these policies will tell a lot on managing food wastage, creating a sustainable environment for sustainable livelihoods and creating space of Food Security policies at International level.
The Global issue of population explosion and expansion perturbs suitable food distribution. The world is running short of food supply due to related climate change issues caused by Global Warming which leads to El-Nina and La-Nina induced hydrological and meteorological droughts .The fact also that over the last 15 years, 200 million people around the world were lifted out of hunger and 795 million people are still chronically undernourished explains that adversities like climate change are impacting strongly on the lives of people worldwide.
An Expert in the Food Organization working for Sustainable Agriculture Trust, DR Phyllis Braid said that their organization is currently working on a draft document to focus on increasing food production in rural communities for the poverty stricken and vulnerable.
‘’Apart from working out on increasing food production , we need to push the Government work out on National policies meant to work out on managing and controlling food wastage and loss . Such policies will also focus on sustainable food production at rural community level.’’
‘’Rural communities need to adapt to changes of climate change by planting pulses like beans and peas , groundnuts which are of short season and of fast cash return and for barter and trade . This can work only in situations under which inputs are given to rural farmers to spearhead Agricultural production at high levels.’’
Another expert adds that there is need for policy development at grass root level start with the family to educate families on good food harvesting strategies with no wastage, sufficient and efficient storage management and budget knowledge on food consumption and marketing.
‘’It is surprising to note that families when planting , they put into account every dropping seed but sometimes fail to take care of the plant by not removing weeds . Secondly, at harvest, some remains of peeling crops are not strictly followed for storage in bags and then for granaries.
‘’There is also wastage and loss when preparing for grinding mills and preparing mea lie- meal. The highest wastage and loss comes with cooked food, cooked to excess, not all of it eaten, left for morrow or next food time or just thrown away.
In this era of climate change, this is a big blow since low rains and sometimes incessant rains bring about ravaging droughts. In the age of modern development, climate change impacts more on the environment. Resources have become scarce such that food production becomes low as well, these creating social and economic problems in the world.
The British 18th century Economist Demographer Thomas Malthus in the book by Goshen and McLeod, Human and Economic Geography was quoted.
‘’In the coming 300 years, World natural resources shall dwindle and fail sustain a total population of 6 billion people around the 21st century ‘’.
Thomas Malthus said these words when the World population was 1 and half billion. Today, the World is scarce of natural resources,. This has led to depletion of environmental resources. Further developments in Technology led to the depletion of the ozone layer causing Global Warming and climate change.
A Zimbabwean Agricultural expert in Agronomy with the University of Zimbabwe , Professor Emmanuel Muchonjowa is doing capacity building to farmers on looking towards growing pulses which take short time to grow and reap ,
‘’Climate is changing, food and Agriculture must change too. ’Farmers need education on the growing of pulses which take short time to harvest. There is need for adaptation and mitigation education, train farmers on pulses its harvest and storage.’’
Dr Edward Mharapara from the Food and Agriculture Policy Analysis Network is working on a policy document to pass over to the Government of Zimbabwe so that policy issues on food wastage and loss is put in place to avoid wastage and loss of food.
‘’Food wastage and loss is taking place at time many countries are reeling under economic challenges. This is a worldwide issue but it needs National policy frameworks which must curb food wastage and loss from family level.
‘’Food wastage and loss is more in farming and communal areas but because of climate change , all is changing because of economic hardships , challenges and impacts .
DR Mushita Director of Community Technology Development Trust adds that policy issues on climate change adaptation and mitigation are working in some drought stricken communities but there is more technical information on policy issues related to shifting from maize to pulses growing because climate is changing, food and Agriculture must change too. ‘’.
‘’Shifting from maize growing will make farmers adapt and mitigate climate change , but , let as well focus on food storage and budgeted consumption to avoid wastage and loss’’, he said .
Food wastage and loss is crucial at a time 3, 4 Zimbabweans are in need of food. Southern Africa has 28 million people and Africa has 40 million .It is pathetic to note that nearly half of all deaths in children under the age of 5 years are attributable to under nutrition ‘This translates to 3 million young lives a year.
Food shortage in children leads to stunting, children growing short of their age. It results in diseases under malnutrition like kwashiorkor, rickets and marasmus. Food Security is more compromised by climate change in many development countries of Africa and Asia. This impacted most on children those mostly affected by HIV and AIDS in child –headed families.
The world with 7 billion population, many countries are more affected yet food wastage and loss is increasing every day. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Food Programme must work out on policies meant strongly to reduce and also work towards reduction of food wastage and loss by sensitizing communities around the World on Food Security. To avoid food wastage and loss, there is need for food budgeting for low family income expenses – a global priority area which must call for research on food Production and sustainability.