One out of every three tons of food produced in Colombia, goes to waste
34% of the food is thrown away due to production chain deficiencies and consumer bad habits.Bogotá D. C., 13 de mayo de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
Felipe Correa, Director of Public Policy Monitoring and Assessment of the Colombian National Planning Department. Photo: Nicolás Bojacá
This was one of the conclusions of a Food Non-Safety Forum held recently in Bogotá and organized by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Environmental Studies Institute and the UNal Nutritional and Food Safety Observatory.
According to Nutritional and Food Safety master’s candidate Mario Rodríguez the country throws away 9.76 million tons of food a year. This food loss and waste besides impacting food safety causes an impact to the environment.
First the difference between loss and waste must be understood. The former is a consequence of production processes inefficiency such as in crops, packaging, delivery, storage and industrial transformation, while the latter is more associated to consumer behavior, which throw away food because they do not like the condition it is in.
This situation make stores and supermarkets throw away certain foods, which due to their appearance no longer satisfy customer preferences.
Diminishing waste habits around food must change,” said Rodríguez.
Milk, one of the most disposed
Felipe Correa, Director of Public Policy Monitoring and Assessment of the Colombian National Planning Department (DNP, for its Spanish acronym) also participated in the forum and said that according to a recent DNP study 34% of the foods the country could consume during a year is squandered, in other words one of every three tons of food goes to waste.
“This amount of wasted food could be destined to the whole population of the Province of Guajira for two years,” said Correa.
This waste includes fruits, vegetables, roots, tubercles and dairy products, the latter being over 29,000 tons of waste per year.
Furthermore they also determined the most frequent causes of food waste in production chains. During harvest food goes to waste due to pests, weather conditions, inadequate crop care and lack of good agricultural practices.
In the storage area, for instance livestock can suffer stress conditions due to excessive transportation hours and meat goes to waste even before it reaches consumers.
Although not all foods go through transformation stages, many products are manufactured with parts of fruits or tubercles and the rest is disposed.
“Many foods go to waste even before being consumed. Fruits and vegetables often are bruised and do not comply with presentation requirements in large supermarket chains and are disposed, although many of these foods are still suitable for consumption,” added Rodríguez.
Provinces of Cundinamarca and Boyacá is where most food is lost
The central-eastern portion of Colombia comprised by the Provinces of Santander, Norte de Santander, Cundinamarca and Boyacá, head the list of areas with the greatest food loss, this macro-region loses 1,725,095 tons of food per year.
Then comes the Caribbean region which is comprised by the Provinces of Atlántico, Bolívar, Cesar, Córdoba, La Guajira, Magdalena, San Andrés and Sucre. This region loses 1,131,099 tons of food a year. Followed by Coffee growing and the Pacific coast area which loses 17.1% of the food it produces.
“The recommendation is for homes to make better planning of the food they purchase. Many times people do not measure their needs well and buy more than they require,” said Rodríguez.(Por: Fin/VC/JAAH