A UN report reveals that investing in food cold chains improves food security, combats global warming and fights poverty
Under extreme weather, the Egyptian farmer, Mahmoud Marei, loses part of his fruit and vegetable crop, as a result of the high temperatures, which accelerates the spoilage of the fruits before reaching the consumer.
This is not Merhi’s problem alone; Millions of farmers, especially in developing countries, suffer from yield losses due, among other things, to the use of rudimentary harvesting methods that cause bruising of the fruit, lack of good packaging facilities, unwrapped transport of the fruit, and the lack of sustainable “cold chains”.
The loss here is double; While farmers lose a good amount of their production, production costs increase, and profits decrease, the food gap widens around the world, and the number of hungry people increases with it.
Between what is lost and wasted, the world loses about a third of the food it produces, according to the “Sustainable Cold Chains for Food” report launched by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), during the climate change conference “COP 27” in November 2022. Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
The report revealed that 14% of the total food produced for human consumption is lost, while 17% is wasted, which is the quantities of food that are estimated to be sufficient to feed about a billion people, in a world where 811 million people currently suffer from hunger, and there are more than 3 billion people who are hungry. They can afford a healthy diet.
The lack of sustainable cold chains is a major contributor to this challenge. It leads to the loss of 526 million tons of food production, or the equivalent of 12% of the total global production.
He stated that the world could not afford a similar situation in light of the population, which is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, in addition to the steadily increasing urbanization.
To differentiate, lost food is what spoils before reaching the retail market or the last consumer, as a result of problems in food production or marketing, while wasted food is what is disposed of as a result of a behavioral problem related to our eating habits, especially during gatherings, celebrations, restaurants and hotels.
“People in most developing countries are highly dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, which makes the development of food cold chains a powerful tool for increasing income and promoting economic growth,” says Professor Toby Peters, Professor of Engineering and Physical Sciences who specializes in clean refrigeration and cold chains at the University of Michigan. Birmingham, and one of the lead authors of the report.
He added to “For information”, that “the loss of food after harvest reduces the income of 470 million smallholder farmers by up to 15%, especially in developing countries, so investing in sustainable food cold chains would help lift these families out of poverty.” poverty.”
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, says: “At a time when the international community must act to address the climate and food crises, sustainable food cold chains can make a huge difference.