The New Humanitarian Annual Report 2021

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Southeast Asia wasting too much food

Farmers in Myanmar are often unaware of the risks of using pesticides on their fruits and vegetables
Farmers in Myanmar are often unaware of the risks of using pesticides on their fruits and vegetables (Contributor/IRIN)

Food losses in Asia due to disasters or poor storage, packing and delivery are set to worsen, and governments are ill-prepared to stem the wastage, according experts recently convened by the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies in Singapore.

Possible solutions include redistributing edible wasted food to people; turning it into energy and agriculture inputs; and developing new technology to separate food waste from other rubbish. Policymakers need to take a “total supply chain approach” or else risk breaking Southeast Asia’s fragile food system, said the experts.

“It is likely that the region wastes approximately 33 percent of food, but accurate estimates are not available due to a dearth of quantitative information.”

Increasing urbanization means food will tend to travel farther, something that could exacerbate the food waste problem. Governments need to better fund the tracking of food waste (especially fish, vegetables and rice), they said.

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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