Scientists are worried that the worsening climate change, extreme droughts and floods, will further increase the number of people who are already suffering from hunger and malnutrition from 10 to 20 percent by 2050.
Experts agreed that there is enough food to meet global demands. However, we manage, distribute and consume food inefficiently. In fact, one third of the food produced for human consumption every year, approximately 1.3 billion tons, are lost during the post-harvest stage or wasted at consumption. Food lost or wasted emit 4.4 gigatons of greenhouse gases each year.
Reducing food loss and waste require a farm to table approach - changing the way we produce, manage and consume food. While food wastes can be fixed by changing market and consumer behaviors, food losses can be reduced by changing the way food is produced and managed.
With the population expected to rise by 2 billion in the next 30 years, scientists estimate that a 50 percent increase in food production is needed. This means putting in industrial-scale effort and resources to produce more food, turning to efficient post-harvest methodologies in drying and storage to reduce food losses and ensuring that these technologies are accessible to smallholder farmers.
Hermetic post-harvest systems are sustainable alternatives to expensive refrigeration systems. These solutions do not use fossil fuels and are designed to control infestation and fungal contamination without chemical fumigation. It banks on the principle of modified atmosphere where CO2 gasses are elevated, and oxygen levels are lowered to create an unconducive environment for insects and mold growth. This technology is also affordable enough for smallholder farmers.
hermetic storage systems are highly effective and efficient in controlling insect activity for stored grains and seeds in tropical regions. It prevents the exchange of air and moisture to stop any biological activities once the hermetic storage is sealed. Insects of all life-stages consume the available oxygen and die, while fungal contamination is suppressed.
Known to reduce food losses of grains and seeds, hermetic storage can preserve the quality of dry agricultural commodities for more than a year without long-term negative effects to the environment.
Climate change is making us rethink how we should prepare for a future without hunger and malnutrition. We need to come up with creative solutions to reduce the environmental impacts of food production, while meeting future food goals. Investing in agricultural innovations that are sustainable, climate-smart, and accessible to small farmers is a good start.
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Date Published: October 22, 2018