Wednesday, May 31, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 10, 1444 H
clear sky
38°C / 38°C

A wake-up call for Food security

No Image

Even after alarming reports from competent agencies on food security and food waste, the world is listening to them with deaf ears. There have been reports of “impending agricultural shortfall that could fail to produce enough to feed the world’s anticipated 10 billion population by 2050.”

An FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) report published some years ago is relevant today as it talks about growth, development, population, consumption and other related trends.

“These trends mean that market demand for food would continue to grow. Demand for cereals for food and animal feed is projected to reach some 3 billion tonnes by 2050. The advent of biofuels can change some of the projected trends and cause world demand to be higher, depending mainly on energy prices and government policies. The demand for other food products that are more responsive to higher incomes in the developing countries (such as livestock and dairy products, vegetable oils) will grow much faster than that for cereals’’, said the FAO report.

Amid the gap in demand and supply, food waste causes further leakage of the available resources. According to the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Food Waste Index Report 2021, about 17 per cent of global food production may go wasted, with 61 per cent of this waste coming from households, 26 per cent from food service and 13 per cent from retail.

Food Waste Report

Reports from the Sultanate of Oman and GCC countries are no different. According to the United Nations Food Waste Index Report 2021, the Sultanate of Oman’s estimated household food waste is 95kg per capita per year or 470,322 tonnes in 2019.

Similar is the situation in other GCC countries, as the report suggests the estimated household food waste in UAE, Qatar and Kuwait is 95kg per capita per year.

These reports are wake up calls for everyone to ensure that there is no food waste. There should be new ways to increase the production of agricultural goods.

“Sustainable development is key to address the issue of food shortage or, for that matter, all the issues ranging from climate change to food production and conservation. In theory, everyone agrees with the sustainable way of development, but in practice, it is limited only to summits, conferences, and workshops. The world needs to wake up and start addressing the issue with public-private participation, because it is difficult to achieve desired goals in isolation’’, said Rakesh Jha, an expert on environmental issues.

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, also endorsed public-private collaboration for a sustainable and secure future. It called for advanced economic development and improving people’s lives by encouraging the growth of the private sector in developing countries.

Solving the food needs

“Food security is not something that exists in isolation. Solving the food needs of populations requires collaboration between governments and the private sector. At IFC, we invest in agribusiness to build food security and economic opportunities, in parallel with advisory work to strengthen food safety and security, improve business practices, and make value chains more inclusive by integrating smallholders, MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and women’’, said Prasad Gopalan, Manager, Agribusiness & Forestry, IFC.

“All our investments will be aligned with our strategic focus on food security and nutrition, enhancing linkages and efficiencies across value chains, and making sustainability a business driver’’, explained Gopalan.

arrow up
home icon