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September 28th, 2017 /

A recent report from the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that the world is making significant progress in addressing the issue of hunger. Food security is expected to improve through 2027, driven by forecasts for low food prices and rising incomes for 76 low- and middle-income countries that are former or current food-aid recipients, according to the ERS’s “International Food Security Assessment, 2017-2027” (see page 102 for related article).

In its report, the ERS projected the percentage of the population studied that is food insecure to fall to 8.9% in 2027 from 17.7% in 2017. If those projections hold true, that would be a huge victory in the fight against hunger. However, that still would leave 372 million food-insecure people in those 76 countries in 2027, falling well short of the ultimate goal.

When addressing the critical issue of trying to feed a fast-growing global population that is expected to soar from today’s 7.2 billion to nearly 10 billion by 2050, from an agricultural standpoint much of the discussion has always centered on the need to increase crop acreage and yield. And while major progress must be made in those areas, perhaps equally important is the need to reduce the alarming amount of global food waste that is occurring — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes per year (one-third of the world’s available food is lost post-harvest), according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Interestingly, the FAO notes that the source of food waste is split nearly evenly in the supply chain between production, post-harvest handling and storage (54%) and the processing, distribution and consumption stages (46%). Read more