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Research has proven that all over the world food is wasted and lost through various ways. There are different causes of food wastage in industrialized nations and developing nations. Reports from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimate that at least 1.3 billion tones of food are lost and wasted globally. Wastage and loss of food in developing countries is mostly during production. For developed countries, the consumers account for most of the wastage. In industrialized countries, food loss and waste is commonly due to rejection by the retailers. Retailers mainly assess food by color, size, freshness, even knobbiness among other factors. This means that mostly retailers waste perfectly good food. Contrary to the case in developing countries where main causes are pests, diseases, inadequate transport, and poor storage. Developing countries have a very great potential of food production. Vast lands are left bare and crops rot in farms due to lack of necessary infrastructures. On the other hand, richer countries have easy access everything necessary for even surplus production of food. Pesticides, improved seeds, dryers, controlled granaries and refrigerated trucks are some of the factors that ensure low wastage of foods in farms. In industrialized countries, they are easily accessible to farmers compared to developing countries. This is due to cheap cost of the machines and products needed and well structured infrastructures.
Farmers in developing countries have a major problem in market access. Lack of market access is a major cause of food loss and wastage. This is because when the products are ready for harvest or selling some farmers do not have means of long preservation. Developing countries tend to leave farmers to entirely cater for production, preservation and marketing until a product gets to the consumer. When farmers harvest their food, they do not find ready markets waiting for their products. They have to wait or look for places themselves. Some end up retailing wholesale good, which leads to wastage when goods start perishing. Poor preservation skill is the major cause of loss for perishable goods. Storage is also a major concern after harvesting. Farmers need granaries and refrigerated stores for preservation of products to reduce waste. Transport and infrastructures such as roads, bridges for access into rural areas where production is higher are also vital. Goods need to be transported from rural areas to urban areas where they is little or no production and the market is wide and ready.
In semi-arid areas, soil conservation and drip irrigation are some of the ways used to increase food output. They are necessary due to the unpredictable climate patterns like lack of rains and excess heat experienced at times. These techniques should be complimented with others in order for the farm outputs not to go to waste. Farmers lose a lot of their food due to lack of storage facilities and markets to sell their surplus. Bad governance and biased policies can be a result of lack of markets and infrastructures that eventually lead to food loss. In developing countries, most of the governments are corrupt leading to uneven development. Policy makers often develop certain regions for political reasons without considering any other factors. Most of the foods producing areas are neglected left without major infrastructures. Some areas are left unutilized even though farming is possible. A nation’s government is responsible for ensuring that where possible, food production and marketing is prioritized and enhanced . Concerned ministries like agriculture, transport, finance and technology have to educate and facilitate in reduction of food loss. Farmers have to be taught on how to preserve food to avoid wastage and proper farming skills to avoid loss. Transport systems also have to be made easier and accessible in order to quicken the products reach to the markets. Farmers also have to get financial support from the government. Low interest loans and government incentives can be beneficial to farmers. They will be able to get access to conservation machinery, drought resistant seeds and pesticides. Technology is also important aspect in food preservation. Therefore, it is necessary to come up with more affordable and better conservatory technological techniques that would make the process easy and accessible to the majority.
In places where electricity and machinery are a problem, there is a need for constructive ways of conservation. Food preservation is the second important factor in the world to food production. Difficulty in preservation amounts to a lot of food loss in low-income countries. Most consumers do not produce or cultivate food therefore, for food to get to them from the farmers it has to be conserved. In developing countries, food conservation is a difficulty due to lack of proper infrastructure and knowledge. Various easy and less expensive techniques can be used to preserve food and avoid loss. Drying of farm products is a good and cheep way of preservation. Farmers can spread their products in open air where the sun can lower their humidity level. This is a process commonly used by cereal farmers. Boiling of products is another technique. Cassava leaves when boiled can stay for more than three months without going bad. Milk when boiled to a certain degree can stay fresh for longer. Salting is also a useful way of preserving food products. Salting is commonly used in meat preservation; it drains water from the meat keeping it fresh. Farmers can bury food in the ground as a method of conservation. When food is buried light and oxygen lack, cool temperatures and soil ph levels can ensure that products stay longer. Preservation of food is of very great importance in ensuring reduction of loss and wastage.
In developed countries, consumers constitute to most of the food loss and wastage. Food produced exceeds its demand. This surplus causes food wastage at the consumer level. Industrialized states have all the necessary infrastructures required for food production and preservation. This means that very little food is lost at production level. It also implies that a lot of food produced gets to the market. Consumers are very choosy due to the surplus supply, which makes the farmers produce more to be on the safe side. Consumers pay attention to weight, size and appearance hence influencing the quality standards. This can be avoided by opening up the market to farmers. This can minimize the amount of rejected food since not all consumers will go to the supermarkets. Organizations in areas affected can discourage against disposing of good but substandard food. Their collection and sale can be planned to reduce food wastage. To the consumers food waste can be reduced in many ways. Consumers can cook smaller amounts of food enough for the number of guests or people in the household. Expiry is also a great contributor of food waste. Consumers should always check the expiry date to avoid disposing of untouched food as waste. Shoppers should also ensure they carry lists of what they really need instead of impulse buying leading to purchase of same items. Leftovers should not be thrown into the garbage since with the right recipes you can make new dishes. They should also preserve food in the right ways and avoid piling of plates with excess food.
There are very many cases of hunger and famine in the world. The reason as to why there is so much food loss and wastage needs to be addressed urgently to enable reduction of hunger. Tackling this issue and implementing the solutions should start from the producer to the consumer. Resolving the issue is necessary in ensuring stability in the world. According to statistics from the United Nations 1.3, billion tones of food are wasted in a year. This food can be useful in the world’s fight against hunger. This can only be possible through collective responsibility from everyone. Most of the foods lost and wasted are even harmful to human beings and the universe when not disposed well. Decaying foods release harmful gases into the atmosphere, which cause diseases and are a cause of pollution. In developing countries, food should be a source of great income. Some are blessed with fertile soils and good climate conditions that favour farming. Therefore, these nations should do their best to ensure that the agricultural sector output is maximized. Every involved party should desist from wastage through the many ways available and make the world a better place.
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