Friday, 11 January 2013
Waste not want not.
For most of my life the problem of malnutrition in the world has been down to failures of distribution rather than production; a shortage of cash rather than a shortage of food. There was plenty of food to go round but so many people in the world could not afford to buy it. That is still the case today of course but the problem is starting to be compounded by actual food shortages. Climate change, extreme weather events, water shortages and a series of poor harvests are for the first time in living memory making actual food shortages, as opposed to distribution failures, a worrying possibility in the near future. Against this background the recent report by the Institution Of Mechanical Engineers suggesting that up to 50% of world food production is wasted should make for disturbing reading. The reasons for food wastage are many and varied ranging from poor road infrastructure in some tropical countries meaning that much food spoils before it can be got to market to the criminally insane marketing strategy of supermarkets that results in thousands of tons of vegetables being ploughed back in due to being the "wrong" shape or size. Meanwhile the suits and spivs who continue to speculate on world food prices get fat on the misery of others. The only thing that cheers me up is the certain knowledge, that even as I write this, in the finest restaurants in the land an underpaid member of staff is spitting in some rich bastard's soup.