Over Half of the World's Food Loss and Waste Occurs in Asia

food waste loss asia

More than half a billion people in the Asia Pacific region suffer from hunger, yet an estimated 42 percent of fruit and vegetables and a fifth of the grains produced here are lost or wasted, leading the region to launch a campaign to cut down on food waste. With the world population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, there is a need to increase food production by 60 percent, amid constraints such as the decline of arable lands, scarcity of water and the impact of climate change and natural disasters.

While the region’s economies expanded rapidly in the first decade of the 21st century, the benefits of the growth were unevenly distributed, resulting in a wider income gap in several countries, so the economic growth did not alleviate hunger and poverty. According to U.N. statistics, an estimated 653 million people across the region lived below the national poverty line in 2010. In 2012, the Asia-Pacific region was home to 536 million hungry people, or 62 percent of the world’s undernourished. The problem is said to be the amount of food wasted, not inadequate production.

In Asia, food is lost in transit from rural production areas to urban consumers because of poor quality roads, hot and humid weather conditions and poor packaging. Not only do these food losses increase the cost of food for consumers and reduce incomes for producers, they threaten food security as a whole.

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