Saturday, 23 August 2008

Half of all food produced worldwide is wasted as is the water used to produce it.

According to the Environment News Service tremendous quantities of food are wasted after production - discarded in processing, transport, supermarkets and kitchens - and this wasted food is also wasted water, finds a policy brief released Thursday at World Water Week in Stockholm. The brief authored by the Stockholm International Water Institute, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Water Management Institute shows that the current food crisis is less a crisis of production than a crisis of waste. Tossing food away is like leaving the tap running, the authors say. "More than enough food is produced to feed a healthy global population. Distribution and access to food is a problem - many are hungry, while at the same time many overeat," the brief states. But, it says, "we are providing food to take care of not only our necessary consumption but also our wasteful habits."

"As much as half of the water used to grow food globally may be lost or wasted," says Dr. Charlotte de Fraiture, a researcher at IWMI. "Curbing these losses and improving water productivity provides win-win opportunities for farmers, business, ecosystems, and the global hungry. An effective water-saving strategy requires that minimizing food wastage is firmly placed on the political agenda," she said. In the United States, for instance, as much as 30 percent of food, worth some US$48.3 billion, is thrown away. "That's like leaving the tap running and pouring 40 trillion liters of water into the garbage can - enough water to meet the household needs of 500 million people," says the report.

World Water Week is hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute, a policy institute that contributes to international efforts to combat the world's escalating water crisis. Virtual water is a measurement of how water is embedded in the production and trade of food and consumer products and is the concept on which the policy brief, "Saving Water: From Field to Fork - Curbing Losses and Wastage in the Food Chain," is based. While studying water scarcity in the Middle East, Professor Allan developed the theory of using virtual water import, via food, as an alternative water "source" to reduce pressure on the scarcely available domestic water resources there and in other water-short regions.

The Romans were superb engineers and sent water vast distances via aquaducts and pipes. The Holy Land was, and still is an area where water is scarce. The Bible has many references about 'living water', that is, fresh water. it is quite simple, no water, no life. It seems to be a lesson ignored by many as the virtual water in much food imported from water scarce areas of the world ends up in landfill.

1 comment:

Becoming Me said...

This is so sad. This may sound too idealistic...but if everyone on this planet would follow the greatest commandment and pull resources together and not waste...oh what a beautiful world it would be. I mean it is already beautiful, but we could wipe out world hunger...we could do so selfish many of us are and shamefully, I need to include myself in that batch.