FAO’s close review of what we know about food loss offers a reminder that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For example, cassava, a staple in much of the tropics, perishes much more quickly than potatoes in temperate regions do.
The lack of data has been a major cause for inaction. Without knowing how much food is lost where, we can’t know which interventions would be effective.
If we want to envision a world free of hunger and malnutrition, we need sustainable trade with clear rules. Incentives for agricultural producers must change, too.
Unfortunately, countries keep subsidizing products of low nutritious content, favoring staple foods over fresh produce. This has a negative effect on nutrition and dietary diversity, often where they are most needed.
SOFI 2019 begins to track a new indicator, FIES, that goes beyond hunger and includes those affected by “moderate” food insecurity. Given the broader scope, this indicator will help make the report more useful for policymakers in reducing food insecurity and malnutrition.
Food crises and distress migration will continue to plague the African continent in the decades ahead, unless massive investments are made to make the region’s agriculture and food systems more resilient.
While the interest in using Information and Communication Technologies to provide farmers with agricultural advice has been growing, the low level of computer literacy among the farmers in developing countries has been a major barrier.
Not much has been said about the market structure or competitive behavior along the supply chain in the highly concentrated fertilizer industry, nor about how this affects fertilizer uptake in the region.
Our lack of knowledge of the magnitude of food loss and waste is a major barrier to addressing the problem. Estimates of global figures vary from 27% (1 billion tonnes) to 32% (1.3 billion tonnes) of all food produced in the world.
In developing countries, small farmers often cannot access organized markets directly. Instead, they sell to middlemen who resell their output to distant buyers. These middlemen appear to earn large margins, and they appropriate most of the gains from rising consumer prices.
Through increased access to mobile phones, farmers can better plan how much to plant each season and how much and what type of investments could be profitable based on demand and supply.
The three-part model provides a visual representation of historical periods of excessive global price volatility from 2000 to present, as well as a daily volatility status. It can alert policymakers when world markets are experiencing a period of excessive food price volatility.