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Is food really not enough for everyone?

With an upward trend in the world population for the coming years, one of the most worrying questions is: What will these generations to come eat? The regeneration capacity of the world's ecosystems and their excessive exploitation casts doubt on the food needs can be met in the face of the world's growing demand, but on this occasion a special emphasis will be placed on Oaxaca, a land of many riches and shortages at the same time.

The variability of climatic conditions in recent years, the economic weakening due to conflicts or the COVID-19 pandemic are the main enemies in the fight to reduce hunger and malnutrition in the world, in addition, it should be noted that not only try to fill the stomach, but to do it with healthy and balanced diets. The problem is more visible if we rely on graph 1 obtained from the world food security and nutrition report, which shows the 15-year trajectory as a percentage of the population and in millions of people. From 2014 to 2019, a relative stability can be seen in the number of undernourished people, but as of this year the indicator increases.


NOTAS: * Los valores previstos para 2020 en la figura se ilustran con líneas de puntos. Las zonas sombreadas indican los límites inferior y superior del rango estimado.
Figure 1. Prevalence of undernourishment in the world, 2005-2020. Source: FAO

In the case of Latin America, it can be seen in graph 2 that in terms of undernourishment it is behind Africa and Asia with 60 million people who suffer from hunger. However, the problem does not only lie in the agricultural or commercial capacities of the countries, the use of these is also important, since food waste is present in both developed and underdeveloped countries, since it has an impact even beyond health and the nutrition of many people; it also has an environmental, social and economic impact. A report by the World Forum for Nature (WWF) indicates that approximately 37% of the food produced worldwide does not reach the final consumer, which is equivalent to more than 2,500 million tons of wasted food. This means that if there is the possibility that everyone has access to food, but by not being able to reach the stomachs of millions, forests are also being destroyed, consuming huge amounts of water and generating greenhouse gas emissions and all this just so that a a third of what the earth produces ends up in the garbage.


Graph 2. Number of undernourished people (in millions) Source: FAO URL: https://www.fao.org/3/cb4474es/cb4474es.pdf

Food waste in Mexico arises in the first links of the value chain and these are some possible causes according to the director of strategic alliances in innovation at (BAMX):

  • Little technology implemented in the field.

  • Lack of infrastructure to mobilize perishable products.

  • Lack of appreciation of the farmer's work.

  • Drought.

In economic terms, these losses amount to 750 million dollars per year, in environmental terms it is equivalent to the pollution generated by 16 million cars, this has been said by the Food Bank of Mexico (BAMX).

In the very particular case of Oaxaca, with more than 60% of the population living in poverty, the benefits of the land and its different climates suitable for the production of different agricultural products contrasts with the lack of planning and infrastructure at the time of laying to walk the distribution of what is produced in the field. The Oaxaca food bank states that 50% of the total waste collected in the dumps is food, an alarming figure due to the conditions of food poverty in which thousands of people live in that state. Most of this waste of resources takes place in the central de abastos, a meeting point for hundreds of farmers from different parts who seek to market their products.

The lack of planning of the infrastructure that surrounds the largest market in the state and the lack of government action to improve the situation has caused great deterioration due to contamination in the area, putting the health of thousands of citizens at risk. Merchants, food vendors, farmers and local residents have taken it upon themselves to litter the banks of the Atoyac River, which in its time enjoyed great beauty and clean, crystal-clear waters; it is currently a focus of waste and diseases due to contaminated water.

Although environmental deterioration is in a very advanced state, it is not impossible to correct it; rehabilitation and sustainable planning depends on a collaboration of all citizens coordinated with the state government and civil associations. Garbage recycling is a business opportunity and to find a better use for the more than 100 tons of garbage that are generated at the Bastos power plant every day. In nations such as the Netherlands or Austria, 80% of waste is recycled, but prior separation of waste from home is a fundamental part of achieving these standards, in addition to an adequate waste treatment system. In our generation there is the possibility of creating a real change in our consumption trends or of maintaining a passive posture that waits without much joy for the imminent environmental collapse.



Bibliography

  • Avendaño, A. P. (2022). 37 hombres en Oaxaca contra 100 toneladas de basura. El Imparcial de Oaxaca. Recuperado 20 de julio de 2022, de http://imparcialoaxaca.mx/la-capital/151604/37-hombres-en-oaxaca-contra-100-toneladas-de-basura/

  • Alimentos contaminados causan más de 200 enfermedades (20:39 h). (2015, 7 abril). ADN - Agencia Digital de Noticias Sureste. Recuperado 20 de julio de 2022, de https://www.adnsureste.info/alimentos-contaminados-causan-mas-de-200-enfermedades-2039-h/

  • La tierra que todo lo da. Banco de alimentos. Recuperado 30 de julio de 2022, de https://bamx.org.mx/la-tierra-que-todo-lo-da/

  • Newsweek en español Oaxaca. (2019, 22 mayo). No más desperdicio de alimentos en restaurantes: Congreso. Newsweek en Español. Recuperado 30 de julio de 2022, de https://newsweekespanol.com/2019/05/no-mas-desperdicio-alimentos-restaurantes-congreso/#:%7E:text=De%20acuerdo%20con%20el%20Banco,decir%2C%20al%20menos%20400%20toneladas.

  • WWF. (s. f.). panda. Recuperado 30 de julio de 2022, de https://wwf.panda.org/es/que_hacemos/alimentos/desperdicioalimentos/

  • Informe sobre el desarrollo mundial 2022. (2022). World Bank. https://www.bancomundial.org/es/publication/wdr2022?

  • El desperdicio de alimentos daña al clima, el agua, la tierra y la biodiversidad. (2021). FAO. https://www.fao.org/news/story/es/item/196368/icode/

  • Vision Global Juarez.org. (2017, 9 diciembre). EXCESIVO DESPERDICIO DE COMIDA. Vision Global Juarez - CD Juarez, Chih. http://visionglobaljuarez.org/excesivo-desperdicio-comida/



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