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Giving Compass' Take:
• The impact of COVID-19 on the food supply chain is causing problems such as an increase in both food loss and food waste.
• How can technology help address food supply issues? How can donors respond to this crisis?
• Learn what the individual can do to curb food waste during a pandemic.
COVID-19 has exposed a great number of ugly truths that are more easily made invisible under cheerier circumstances: some people have no home to quarantine inside, others face domestic violence at home, some have no public safety nets to speak of and others are more threatened by hunger than an ominous virus. A society of hunger is unacceptable. But this becomes even more unacceptable when one third of our global food supply is lost or wasted every single year.
As hoarding mentality and panic buying spike, market stalls and grocery aisles are being cleared out, leaving barren shelves where food staples were once stocked. Laid-off workers and daily-wage earners in informal economies struggle to feed themselves, while temporary foreign workers are flown in to fill labor gaps across agricultural fields. From farm to fork, COVID-19 puts a spotlight on the troubling issues of our broken global food system – not least of which is the scandal of food loss and waste.
Not surprisingly, the Global North is the largest culprit of food waste at the consumption stage, including the prosperous economies of East and Southeast Asia. Whereas across the developing world, and particularly sub-Saharan Africa, consumption waste is basically unheard-of, and most of the damage comes from post-harvest losses.
As millions go hungry while food excess is wasted, the social injustices of hunger point to broken global food systems characterized not only by flawed systems of production, but also by unequal distribution. These dynamics create destructive feedback loops, in which carbon is released from the deforestation of land, which is used to produce food that never feeds mouths but instead ends up in landfills, and emits even more potent greenhouse gases, such as methane.
Read the full article about struggling food supply chains by Seble Samuel at Food Tank.