“Food is the paramount want of the people.”
This traditional Chinese saying reflects a common truth: throughout human history, food has been a top priority for the mankind.
Today, between 720 million to 811 million people are still suffering from hunger around the world. In the past few years, the global situation was further exacerbated by regional conflicts, extreme weather events, the COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging crises. Our global food system is strained by increasingly tough challenges.
While people are going hungry, food waste has been a chronic issue. According to the United Nations, 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted around the world every year .
Hindered by a myriad of constraints, the world faces an extremely tough road ahead towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In such road ahead, reducing food loss and waste has an essential role to play, as it has been recognized as an effective means to strengthen food security.
As the world's largest food producer and consumer, China has made food security a top priority on its agenda. It has not only succeeded in feeding 20% of the world’s population with only 9% of the world’s arable land, but also eliminated absolute poverty nationwide, an accomplishment that goes down the history.
China has a fine tradition of cherishing food, and has been exploring approaches to reduce food loss and waste across the value chain.
Regarding production, China’s hybrid rice has a record-setting yield as high as 18 tonnes per hectare.
High-yield cultivation practices, such as mechanical precision seeding, integrated pest management, and fertigation, have helped improve grain yield and quality.
Digital technologies have enabled faster improvement of production efficiency and farmers' capabilities. Combines are instrumental in reducing food loss. Competitions for combine drivers with least food loss are organized nationwide, with remarkable results. In Shandong, the average wheat harvest loss for combines is 0.857%, which makes it possible to increase harvest by 265,000 tonnes.
At the post-harvest stage: state grain reserve depots are managed with smart solutions,the total storage loss has been brought down from more than 0.1% to about 0.06%; large agricultural players mainly use drying silos; small farmers widely use improved silos and eco-friendly technologies in grain storage; food processors and agri-food businesses continue to improve their equipment and techniques, effectively reducing food and nutrient loss.
As with food consumption, government officials take the lead in advocating simplistic, low-carbon, and healthy lifestyles and consumption choices. People are encouraged to take individual portions while dining and keep portion sizes in check.
Food loss reduction is a formidable task that requires global cooperation.
"Reducing food loss and waste for enhanced global food security". We look forward to the joint efforts of all countries and their wisdom and solutions for better production, better nutrition, and a better environment.
Let’s work together to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Everyone has a role to play in advancing global food security.