Akin Akande, Abuja
Minister of the Environment, Hajia Hadiza Mailafia, has lamented that over 20,000 children die of hunger everyday and over one-third (1.3 billion tonnes) of world food production is wasted every year.
Mailafia, who stated this on Wednesday at the 2013 World Environment Day, said food wastage causes air pollution as it releases hazardous methane gas. The theme of 2013 World Environment Day was, ‘Think, Eat, Save, Reduce your Food Print’.
She said the main objective of the theme was to highlight the magnitude of food waste worldwide and the impact on socio-economic development of the world.
The Minister stated that the “Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), of the United Nations estimated that about one-third of global food production is wasted from farm to fork, which is equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes of food annually.
Her words: “The volume of waste is said to be more than the total net food production in sub-Saharan West Africa.
This monumental wastage, according to her, is happening at a time that an estimated 870 million people go hungry worldwide and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger”.
Food loss and waste is what we can all address. We need to raise awareness in our various places and showcase solutions relevant to developed and developing countries alike.
“Infrastructure and technology can reduce the amount of food that perishes after it is harvested and before it reaches the market.
By reducing food waste, we can save money and resources, minimise environmental impacts and most importantly move towards a world where everyone has enough to eat”.
While speaking at the event, Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammad, said it was imperative for the nation to help farmers reduce post harvest losses and stabilising food prizes.
The Minister who was represented by the Acting Director Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Hajia Aishat Adebayo, noted that the nation should focus its thought on global food security.
“We should refocus our thoughts on the global food security, let us localize our actions in the ways we can best avoid or at least minimise food loss and wastage at both production and consumption stages and save enough of this essential resource for our future generation” he said
United Nations (UN), System Representative, Ms Ade Mananonye Lekoetye, who read UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s message said “Food loss and waste is something we can all address.
She noted that Infrastructure and technology can reduce the amount of food that perishes after it is harvested and before it reaches the market.
“Developing country governments can work to improve essential infrastructure and maximise trade opportunities with neighbours,” she said.