World Food Day 2021: The future of food lies in sustainable agri-food systems

Saturday, 16 October, is World Food Day, dedicated to discussing how we can achieve a sustainable agri-food system that will ensure that we have a supply of quality food and nutrition in the years to come.

Food production has social and environmental considerations

Considering that 40% of the global population is still unable to afford a healthy diet, a sustainable agri-food system will need to account for a more equitable food distribution system. Making food more accessible to more people is high on the list for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN – SDGs), with the second SDG being ‘Towards Zero Hunger.’

In South Africa, access to food remains a widespread issue, with 2.5 million people experiencing hunger every day. This is quite shocking considering that a third (10 million tonnes) of food produced every year goes to waste.

What can we do about this?

The first step to address the distribution of food resources is to address the large portion of edible food that goes to waste. In 2020, food producers and the retail sector came together to sign the Food Loss and Waste Voluntary Agreement, a commitment to reduce food waste and redistribute the edible food surplus.

While this commitment is being made, a major factor that will help South Africa achieve a more sustainable agri-food system is a circular approach to manage food waste. Ultimately, non-edible food waste needs to be recycled. In addition, large volumes produced at a commercial level need to be diverted from landfill if we want to reduce our food’s impact on the environment.

Using on-site composting units, like BiobiN, allows the industry to take large volumes of food waste, converting it into compost, ensuring that food waste is a resource that is not wasted.

By redistributing the edible food surplus and adopting large-scale composting, our food systems can ensure better access to food while limiting the impact on the environment.

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