In a gathering of agricultural ministers and food policy experts in Berlin, farm leaders decried food waste and pointed out the nearly 1 billion people worldwide who experience chronic food shortages.
According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, food security and hunger are some of the most important issues facing the global community. UN officials and policy makers across the globe all point to looming famine as a potential cause of future instability. The Egyptian Revolution, some policy experts say, was initially sparked by food shortages in Cairo. Continuing hunger worldwide could lead to further political and economic turmoil.
Complicating the situation is the increasing rise of food prices. With ethanol demand skyrocketing, more and more corn is being converted into fuel, lowering food supplies and driving up prices.
In the midst of these global food shortages, developed nations have an obligation to combat food waste, UN officials have stated. According to the head of the UNFAO, consumers in rich, Western countries waste 220 million metric tons of food every year, an amount equal to the entire food output of sub-Saharan Africa.
According to German Agricultural Minister Ilse Aigner, “We must change our way of thinking, we must have more education, we must have discussion about best-before dates. Every food item thrown away is wasted.”
In order to create a sustainable agricultural future, UN officials say, the Western world needs to change consumption patterns as well as production patterns.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer