Cannot afford to waste food anymore post-Covid
Published on: Sunday, May 03, 2020
By: Prof Dr Mohammad Tariqur Rahman
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Global food waste is mind-blowing. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the annual global wastage of edible food products amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes.  A team of researchers from Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) in a research conducted in 2018 revealed an estimated amount of three thousand tonnes (2,721,554 kg) of food – that is still good to consume – goes to waste every day in Malaysia.

In fact, every high- and middle-income country is guilty of wasting food; the only difference is in the amount of waste.

The food that goes to waste every day in Malaysia can add at least one kg of food for about 2.7 million people in a famine inflicted area. While the food wasted by the United States and Europe alone could feed the world 3 times over. Yet 21,000 people die of hunger every single day in different parts of the world – either for having no food or due to natural or war savaged famine, said David M. Beasley, the executive director of the United Nations – World Food Programme.

This scenario will become worse due as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

To make the situation more dire, the current pandemic brings about an additional of three dozen countries to this list of famine and starvation.

Clearly, it is not the lack of food that is causing anyone to die of starvation. The reasons for their death are linked to our wasteful behaviour and the lack of a concerted effort to get food to those in need.

How difficult would it be to stop wasting food?  In fact, it is a matter of cognizance of others and a decision to stop wasting. It does not require any training or skill. A good conscience is good enough to stop food waste. 

The way the global leaders have succeeded in bending the curve of the Covid-19 fatality, the same way they can help to reduce the number of deaths linked to starvation.

In fact, the estimated number of death due to Covid-19 is much lower than that number due to a lack of food. The only hurdle that we all need to cross, is that Covid-19 is about us, those who have; while hunger is about them, those who have nots.

Prof Dr Mohammad Tariqur Rahman

Faculty of Dentistry, UM



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