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DATA STORY : Food Waste Index

  • Published
    11th Dec, 2021

According to the UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021, around 931 million tonnes of food waste was generated in 2019. The report covers three sectors-Food retail, Households and Food service. India produces household waste at 50 kg /capita /year respectively. Due to the food waste, 690 million people had to go hungry in 2019.

Issues/ Challenges:

  • SDG 12 Target 3 would be missed: If we do not increase the investment significantly in tackling food wastes in the home globally, we will definitely not achieve the SDG 12.3.
  • Environmental Impact: Around 8-10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed.
  • Social Impact: Wasting food also raises social questions, particularly given the current global financial crisis, rising food prices and international food shortages.
  • Economic Impact: Food loss and waste cause about $940 billion per year in economic losses.
  • Non-inclusion in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): As of now, none of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement mention food waste.
  • Lack of proper data: Global estimates of food waste have relied on the extrapolation of data from a small number of countries, often using old data. Most countries do not have robust data on food waste.
  • Highest burden: As environmental impacts accrue across the life cycle of food products, food waste at the consumer level presents the highest burden. 
    Limited Parameters: This estimation is based on only three studies, all of which had a sample size or length that was either small or unclear.

Suggestive Measures:

  • Inclusion of food systems in NDC’s: Countries can raise climate ambition by including food systems in their NDCs.
  • Community Awareness: The governments, civil societies and businesses have to sync with each other and generate community awareness regarding the importance of reducing food wastage.
  • Innovative ideas: The UN Food Systems Summit will provide an opportunity to launch bold new actions to tackle food waste globally.
  • Saving money: Food waste reductions can save money for farmers, companies, and households.
  • Need to work on SDG targets: SDG target 12.3 aims at halving per-capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains.

Q. “India can convert the food wastage issue into an opportunity if it can address the problem properly”. Elucidate the statement in the light of steps taken by the government of India to reduce food wastage. (250 Words) 15 Marks.

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