The Congress is humbling for technology companies that are generally committed to more, faster and automated production compelled to talk on this platform about simpler and more appropriate technologies for emerging economies to prevent food losses on the farming, harvesting, sorting, processing and logistics side. Nevertheless, it is a sobering thought that already more people in the world die of obesity related deaths than to those related to malnutrition. In the European Union, 88 millions tons of food worth about EUR 143 billion is wasted annually.
The German government has established a division to tackle food waste with a “too good for the bin” awareness program. Its spokesman outlined the government’s 3-step strategy, including targeting its communication at the 800,000 young people who come of age each year in the country; investment in science research to prevent food waste to match or compete with research and development for the increase of food production; and to attract and enable startup companies to find solutions that are both creative and have their own business velocity. A view that can be said to be shared by several speakers is that, “While the private sector holds the key to addressing the issues of preventing food losses and food waste, the public sector is an enabler through policy, frameworks, economic initiatives and research.”
India invites investment in food processing and packaging
A featured speaker at the Save Food Congress was Gargi Kaul, joint secretary and financial advisor to the Ministry of Food Processing in the Government of India. Kaul said that the Indian government is committed to reducing food losses currently estimated to be of the order of US$ 138 billion, by 10% annually. She openly invited foreign direct investment in food processing and packaging pointing to the 42 mega food industrial parts that the government has approved and of which 8 are already operational—together with the government’s recognition of better storage and cold chain logistics facilities. “We require food processing and packaging technology,” she said. “In addition, there is an opportunity in the food retail sector of US$ 33 billion in the next ten years.”
Kaul invited interested stakeholders to the Food India 2017 conference being organized by the Indian government from 3 to 5 November 2017 in New Delhi. Subsequent to Kaul’s forthright and well-received presentation, the FAO presented its case study research of food losses in Andhra Pradesh.