Sunday, 14, August, 2022

Brazil on the map of hunger, waste and the circular economy

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A harsh and sad reality has returned to the headlines of the main communication vehicles in the country, Brazil is on the world hunger map. Between 2020 and 2022, the total number of Brazilians going hungry rose from 9% to 15.5% of the population. There are more than 14 million people who have entered into a situation of serious food insecurity and a serious problem that concerns the entire population, mainly because 17% of the food available to consumers ends up in the trash and around 14% of the food produced is lost between harvest and retail every year, in the world, according to UN data.

 The UN estimated, for the year 2021, that 17% of food available to consumers in markets, homes and restaurants will end up in the trash, and that 60% of this organic waste is generated at home. Food waste at the consumer level is indeed a global problem, significant in almost every country. In addition, around 14% of the food produced is lost between harvest and retail each year. 

"What we will eat today?"

In this new reality for so many Brazilian families, a simple question is today very difficult to answer. According to 2nd National Survey on Food Insecurity in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic in Brazil, developed by the Penssan Network (Brazilian Network for Research on Food and Nutrition Sovereignty and Security), 33.1 million people cannot answer this question. The number of people who are hungry in Brazil is almost double that recorded in 2020. The survey also shows that only 4 out of 10 families have full access to food and that more than half (58.7%) of the Brazilian population lives with insecurity feed to some degree.

The causes of this widespread picture of food insecurity are related to the dismantling of public policies, the economic crisis, the pandemic and growing social inequality, according to Penssan. Despite being one of the largest rural producers in the world, Brazil is increasingly distant from solving the issue of availability of quality food for all..

To Professor Dr. Edson Grandisoli, Pedagogical Coordinator and Educational Ambassador of Circular Movement, part of this waste can and should be reduced. Thinking about food production from the perspective of the Circular Economy, many points can be rethought in order to ensure that food reaches all people.

Brasil no mapa da fome, o desperdício e a economia circular 1
Professor Edson Grandisoli, Pedagogical Coordinator of Circular Movement

“Reducing losses in harvesting and transport is among the main measures to be adopted, that is, creating mechanisms to optimize production and reduce the distance between where it is produced and who consumes it can significantly reduce losses, in addition to reducing emissions. of greenhouse gases, since most of the transport is carried out by trucks powered by petroleum products”, explains Grandisoli.

The issue of waste is also common in markets and points that sell food. Foods that are not aesthetically appealing to the consumer end up being discarded, even though they may be on the tables of these families who have returned to the hunger map. 

“In markets, in general, consumers are looking for aesthetically appealing foods, that is, without stains, marks, dents or perforations. This behavior encourages the retailer to discard ugly foods, but which have the same nutritional value as the others. One strategy to reduce this waste is to sell these foods cheaper, for example, or donate them to those in need. Note that the consumer plays a decisive role in encouraging this practice”, warns the professor.

Also according to the Circular Movement ambassador, it is important that at home, the full use of food is a common practice and that, in addition to being possible, it can be fundamental in the fight against hunger. About 50% of the weight of household waste is organic. In addition, composting what really needs to be discarded reduces the volume of daily waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Losses and waste are responsible for up to 10% of the emissions of these gases.

“Enabling donations of surplus from restaurants and markets is also a great way to guarantee food and health for everyone. Brazil's dependence on imports and international price variations is absurd, especially given the production scenario we have in our country. We need to produce, yes, but mainly not to waste and have public policies aimed at these families who are currently hungry. Food is the basis of life and the circularity of the economy contributes to the food security of populations. Imagine if you had nothing to eat for your next meal,” he explains.

Circular Movement offers knowledge on its platform

The Circular Movement, which is a movement formed from the urgent reflection on the need for everyone's participation so that nothing else becomes garbage. The community is made up of people, companies, social organizations and public authorities, committed to contribute, through education and culture, to the transition from a linear to a circular economy. The collective mission is to disseminate knowledge and encourage the development of new processes, products and attitudes that promote the circular economy. In the website it is possible to have access to educational materials, articles, materials and courses on the transition to a circular economy. 

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