The Dual Challenge of Food Waste and Food Insecurity

Ifeanyi Nsofor and Esther Ngumbi | February 9, 2024

Dr. Ifeanyi M. Nsofor (2018 New Voices Fellow) and Dr. Esther Ngumbi (2015 New Voices Fellow) discuss the interconnected issues of food waste and food insecurity, emphasizing their global impact. It highlights initiatives and approaches taken by governments and organizations to address food insecurity, such as policy interventions and agricultural projects. The authors propose five additional ideas to tackle these challenges:

  1. Addressing Food Waste at the Production Level: Utilizing technological advancements like drones and cell phones to map and track food production, ensuring efficient marketing and reducing waste. Examples include urban gleaning programs that rescue surplus food.
  2. Developing Resilient and Nutrient-Packed Crops: Encouraging farmers to cultivate innovative crops resilient to climate change, such as the biofortified orange-fleshed sweet potato, which is rich in nutrients and resistant to diseases.
  3. Introducing Marketing Innovations: Promoting marketing strategies that encourage consumers to buy imperfect or “wonky” produce, reducing food waste and making nutritious options more accessible.
  4. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Big Data: Integrating AI and big data analytics to forecast disruptions in the supply chain, enabling proactive measures to address logistical and weather-related challenges.
  5. Celebrating Innovative Solutions: Recognizing and celebrating initiatives that effectively address food waste and insecurity, inspiring others to adopt similar approaches.

The article acknowledges the potential barriers to these innovations, such as consumer acceptance and regional/cultural relevance, but emphasizes the significant benefits – reduced hunger, minimized waste, and improved lives.


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