Halving food losses would feed an additional billion people

Wednesday, 31 October, 2012


A quarter of the energy content in produced food is lost or wasted at different stages of food production chain according to Matti Kummu, a post-doctoral researcher at Aalto University in Finland.  

In a world first, Kummu has estimated the global food losses in terms of kilocalories per person.

As a result of food loss in the food production chain, it was determined that globally, 614 kilocalories per person a day are lost. Without this loss, present global food production would yield 2609 kilocalories of edible food a day for every inhabitant in the world. Thus, by halving the food losses, we could feed 8 billion people with the currently-used resources.

The Finnish study is also the first to evaluate the impact of food losses and its relationship to resources on a global scale. Annually 27 m3 of clean water, 0.031 ha of agricultural land and 4.3 kg of fertilisers per inhabitant in the world is wasted in food losses.

Agriculture uses more than 90% of the fresh water consumed by humans and most of the raw materials used in fertilisers. More efficient food production and the reduction of food losses are very important matters for the environment as well as future food security, Kummu adds.

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