Thursday, December 15, 2016
Cutting food waste using technology.
Globally, food waste is rising to 50 percent as developing nations struggle with spoilage while developed nations simply toss edible food away. The crux of the matter actually is that by 2050 there will be about 9billion people to feed,thus pushing for more food production. According to data,much food is produced but waste from farms to stores and from stores to tables are actually responsible for food insecurity with malnutrition and famine as outcomes in developing nations. Data analysis has shown that curbing waste will provide the extra food for the growing population,if a quarter of what is wasted now is salvaged then we are halfway through to feeding the projected population. Food preservation,storage and handling are the key points of interest as all waste stems from one of these or a combination depending on the country involved. Cutting food waste using technology can come in several forms such as cooling,chilling, vacuum sealing and drying. Refrigerators are in the market that tell when food is going bad,there are giant vats of organic waste using the same process as the human stomach to make energy(biogas)and apps that help you shop more efficiently. There are apps that help shoppers plan meals better to avoid overbuying perishable items, or calculate the shelf life of different groceries. In the home, smart fridges now give consumers even more information about their food. These fridges, pioneered by LG and Samsung, help keep track of your perishables, alert you when something is about to spoil and use Internet connectivity to help devise recipes. The consumers as of today still have to input all the items you buy in the fridge but the next-generation smart fridge will automatically scan its own contents. Waste operators,farmers and big food retailers have been using anaerobic digesters, giant sealed containers where bacteria breaks food waste down into biogas, a renewable energy source that comes from organic material fermenting without oxygen, to make energy from compostable food thus saving money on electricity and gas. Chilling and vacuum sealing also useful to cut waste especially from farm to markets,especially where there is a good road network to shorten distance from farm to market.Production is not the problem but handling of produce from farm to the market,take the case of tomatoes in Nigeria;we produce more than enough but about 45% is lost thus forcing importation of tomato paste to bridge the shortfall see Vacuum sealing extends shelf-live of produce,especially when combined with chilling or cooling as a storage option. Education of farmers on innovative farming techniques especially those that can be practiced by local farmers will go a long way to cut losses. Thinking of cutting food waste to ensure food security ? then build a network of diversified farmers,with an off-takers scheme such that produce are collected onsite by processors,for onward delivery to markets as farm fresh products and as raw materials for in food processing and packaging plants. Telecommunications to ensure food security and food safety come in here