The Story of Food

Hello people! Finally, I’ve come to my 10th blog post which means it’s the final blog for my assignment this semester. It has been a roller coaster ride of emotions so far from being very enthusiastic to lazy, then back to be enthusiastic again but with very little time to work on. Reading on all my previous blog posts, I am frankly quite proud to be able to reach this 10th blog post. Hence, to celebrate this 10th blog post, I want to share my analysis on my favourite subject in the world: FOOD!!!

As a big fan of Gordon Ramsay, I’ve watched almost all TV shows involving him from US Masterchef, to Hell’s Kitchen.

Gordon Ramsay GIF. Taken from giphy.com

I was sad to find out that the amount of food waste in these shows are HUGEEE!!!! It is such a shame that it does not end up in my tummy. However, when I was watching cooking shows, I was not sad from the possible environmental impact of food waste such as the release of a large amount of methane into the atmosphere. I was sad because I wanted to eat it and I was pretty sure the starving African children also wanted it.

On a global scale, one-third of the total food produced around the world goes to waste. To my shock, most of the food waste was generated in lower-income nations; which is ironic since these countries are the ones who need food. In lower-income nations, most of the food waste was generated “upstream”: the production, yield handling and storage phase. This is the result of poor infrastructure, dysfunctional network and lack of proper harvest techniques. In my opinion, it is easy to combat these problems IF we have as much money as more affluent nations, however, this is not going to happen anytime soon. Nevertheless, it is still a pressing matter knowing well that population pressure is still rising upwards. So, what can we do?

According to Isabelle Denis from the FAO liaison office in Brussels, low-income countries need to assist small farmers in linking directly with potential buyers. What happened in many low-income countries is there is presence of the MIDDLEMAN. However, there are MANY MANY middlemen in the food supply chains. Usually, people think this is bad because middlemen increase price and the presence of multiple middlemen surge food’s price. However, with the presence of many middlemen, food takes longer to reach the consumers, hence many fruits, meat, and vegetables got rotten along the way, creating food wastage. Eliminating middlemen are not as easy as it sounds because they usually have enough power to make small farmers’ life miserable. However, it is not impossible. Starbucks has succeeded in eliminating most if not all the middleman in their food supply chain.

Starbucks Farmer Support Centres around the world. Image taken from Starbucks.ie

Denis also said that low-income countries need to diversify and upscale the production of small farmers. This solution is a little tricky. Many low-income countries are commodity countries, where they produce goods they have comparative advantage in such as palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia and Rice in Vietnam and Thailand. This makes it challenging to diversify the production, especially for profit-driven small farmers. To upscale production, a huge amount of money needs to be invested and few low-income countries are willing to do it especially for small farmers. This is where I feel foreign intervention might be useful. The Paris Climate Agreement requires high-income countries to help low-income countries in cutting down greenhouse gases emission. In tackling food wastage, not only does methane emission can be reduced, but the food insecurity problem may also be reduced.

In conclusion, there are things people in the business sector can do to reduce food wastage at the upstream level. Another important thing I recommend would be to publicise the amount of food wastage in less developed countries to the world so that they can realise and sympathise. Yay! 10 blog posts are done. Thank you for reading. See you in my next blog post if I feel like posting one in the future.