On a global level, hunger and undernourishment affected around 815 million people in 2016, up from 777 million in 2015, which shows the seriousness of this blight.
Teyuné Díaz Díaz
This result represents a new challenge for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which now sees its goal in the near future of zero hunger and less extreme poverty becoming more distant, after incorporating 38 million people who are suffering from this disaster.
According to an FAO study, in Latin America and the Caribbean there was an increase of 2.4 million people who do not have a sufficient quantity of food to live, reaching the figure of 42.5 million in 2016, which represents an increase in hunger of 6.6% of the regional population. In light of this complex picture, it is significant that on the global level 300 million tonnes of food are lost or wasted; of this figure, 127 million tonnes correspond to Latin American and Caribbean territory.
According to the FAO, loss and waste are two different principles: the first relates to the harvest, distribution and transport chain, and the second is the act of someone who decides to dispose of a food item, even if it is suitable for human consumption.
Both indicators have a high impact on different spheres, as they reduce local and global availability of food, they generate lost income for the producers and they increase prices for consumers.
Along with this, they cause an important squandering of resources and energy, and they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the most pressing challenges that the FAO is facing is specifically the prevention and reduction of food loss and waste, as a strategic area for the eradication of hunger and poverty.
Studies by the organisation show that the largest decrease has been noted in fruit and vegetables, which represent 55.5% of the reduction.
In light of a picture that shows the growing increase of hunger and undernourishment, one of the United Nations’ goals to achieve by 2030 is the reduction, by half, of the world food waste per capita.
For this, they devised strategies such as selling wholesale and on a consumer level, so as to diminish food loss in distribution chains, including after harvests.
The FAO estimates that food and nutritional safety are directly linked with fruit and it plays a fundamental role from both points of view, as it provides nutrients and antioxidants.
Sustainable fruit farming is the direction that the organisation is trying to aim towards. A healthy diet is essential in reducing malnutrition in all its forms, the FAO states. It also contains a key element in the interests of reducing overweight and obesity rates, as the consumption of fruit has multiple benefits to health, providing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, water and fibre for human beings.
Another benefit of fruit production is its power to contribute to food safety, the reduction of rural poverty and sustainable development for countries from three perspectives: strengthening family farming, the adaptation and mitigation of climate change, and combating malnutrition, it states.
The development of this work shows an increase on a global level, but it also constitutes an alternative employment and a means of increasing the incomes of thousands of people linked to the development of agricultural production chains.
The rural sector is the most favoured as the greatest number of families in vulnerable conditions or food uncertainty are concentrated there.
On the other hand, when one country invests in strengthening their fruit-growing sector, it contributes to the development of more sustainable food systems, that have an impact on life improvement of the population, mainly in the farming sector, in health and in financial development.
At the same time, environmental management is favoured as a well-managed fruit production has large profits and is a source of biodiversity. For example, perennial or long cycle crops limit soil erosion, help to maintain groundwater reserves and contribute to the removal of greenhouse gases.
For these reasons, global fruit commerce has been significantly increasing in the last 10 years. Specifically, in exportation and importation; from 2005 to 2014 the increase hovered between 8.8% and 8.2% respectively.
Fruit crops are linked to, in varying degrees, the intraregional and international export markets, and every day they acquire a greater dynamism in the internal markets of these countries. (PL)
(Translated by Donna Davison – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) – Photos: Pixabay