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Target for food: Reduce food waste $13, boost agri-R

Last modified February 09, 2015 09:17

The Copenhagen Consensus Center has just published a set of papers for our latest topic, Food Security and Nutrition.

The Copenhagen Consensus Center has just published a set of papers for our latest topic, Food Security and Nutrition.

One-quarter of all food in the world is lost each year, from harvesting and storage to wastage in the consumer’s kitchen. Halve that, and we could feed an extra billion people.

Fortunately, new analyses show that there are smart ways to reduce the developing world’s substantial food waste. Interestingly, these solutions have little to do with rich world food waste campaigns or policies like Seattle’s law forbidding citizens to throw food into their trash bins.

In the developing world, it is not consumers that cause the waste, but the losses at harvest and post-harvest. The solution is building reliable road, rail and electrical infrastructure, which means better market access, allowing more investment in e.g. refrigeration.

As reported by Reuters around the world, this will cost $240B over the next 15 years but reduce the number of hungry people by 57m, and avoid malnourishment of 4m children. This generates $13 of benefits per dollar spent – a very good return.

But it turns out there is an even better food target: an extra $88 billion in agricultural research and development over the next 15 years will increase yield growth by an additional 0.4% each year. For each dollar spent, this will achieve $34 of social benefits. It will save 79m people from hunger and avoid 5m children being malnourished.
 

Food Security and Nutrition

Targets

Benefits ($B)

Costs ($B)

Benefit for Every Dollar Spent

Reduce post harvest losses by 10 percentage points

Globally

$4,051

$299

$14

Developing World

$3,072

$239

$13

Increase investment in agricultural R&D by 160%

$2,961

$88

$34

 

You can read all of the reports at www.post2015consensus.com/food-security-and-nutrition

 

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