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Unequal distribution of food in Mexico: Waste of 20 Million Tons per Year

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Food production and hunger are global challenges. In Mexico, 22% of the population suffers from food poverty. How to achieve food sovereignty and reduce food waste? Discover it here.

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Food production is a great challenge to achieve sustainability.

The current rate of agricultural and livestock production requires about 70% of water consumption and 40% of the land area according to the UNAM Institute of Geography (IG) in 2019.

However, even with the enormous resource requirements, the distribution of food is unequal and the problem of hunger in the world still persists, which worsened after the economic crisis of 2020, affecting almost all developing countries. The current number of people with some type of food deficiency is 811 million, according to the report State of Food Security and Nutrition in the world, published by the UN in 2021.

In the particular case of Mexico, The Hunger Project estimates that 22% of the population lives in food poverty. In the 2018 National Health and Nutrition Survey, 881,752 cases of minors with chronic malnutrition were reported in the country. Chronic malnutrition in urban areas is 7.7% and in rural areas 11.2%. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines malnutrition as insufficient food intake to meet dietary energy needs.

According to the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval), in 2020 the number of poor people in the country grew by 3.8 million, who began to have difficulties buying the goods and services of the basic basket. Of these, 2.1 million fell below the threshold of extreme poverty, that is, those whose income is below the food security line.

Ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture is objective two within the 2030 Agenda, established in the Paris Agreement in 2015. To do this, three aspects must be combined: ensuring access to food in good condition, increase income and ensure sustainability.

To achieve the objective, Food Sovereignty can be used, defined as the right to put into practice sustainable policies and strategies for the production, distribution and consumption of food. To achieve this, aspects such as the protection of land against extractivist activities, the right to water, the use of seeds and non-industrialized cultivation methods, access to information, etc. are involved.

However, food sovereignty is not a reality in Mexico. According to the National Union of Agricultural Workers (UNTA), 80% of the total food consumed in the country is imported annually. In addition, food is not used efficiently since 20.4 million tons of food are wasted each year, an average of almost 158 ​​kilos per person, according to data from the World Bank, this amount is equivalent to 34% of production for human consumption.

According to FAO data, it is required to:

          70 liters of water to obtain an apple

          900 liters of water to obtain a kilo of corn

          1,000 liters of water to produce a liter of milk

          15,000 liters of water to produce a kilo of beef

According to the UNAM Institute of Geography, the environmental impact of wasted food translates into the waste of 40 billion liters of water, similar to water consumption of all the inhabitants of the country for 2.4 years. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, 36 million tons of CO2 are released in the transport process, which corresponds to the annual emissions of almost 16 million vehicles.

According to Miguel Ángel Santinelli, director of the Faculty of Social Responsibility at the Anáhuac University, he believes that food sovereignty is possible in Mexico, but the first thing that must be resolved at the national level is the unequal distribution of food. To do this, he tells us that coordination between the government and farmers is necessary, because “the greatest food waste occurs in the harvest“, since many of the foods do not meet the visual requirements demanded in supermarkets and by the population to consume it.

Businesses can also engage in responsible practices to reduce the amount of waste they generate, including modifying menus in the restaurant sector to make the most of the food they get, as supermarket chains can stock their shelves with produce. local and seasonal.

Another option that exists for companies are food banks that collect, select and distribute donated food. These products that are no longer marketable but can be consumed are sent to social assistance institutions and marginal communities in urban and rural areas. The Mexican Association of Food Banks (AMBA) has 55 affiliated banks operating in 27 states. During 2020, they rescued 176 tons of food and benefited more than 1 million people from 4,513 communities.

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About the Faculty of Social Responsibility of the Anahuac University:

The Faculty of Social Responsibility of the Universidad Anáhuac México is a leader in the professional training of people and organizations in the field of Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development at a national and international level, being the only faculty of social responsibility in the world. Our graduates are leaders with a solid human background but also with extensive training in social responsibility, who from each of their areas of activity, promote actions so that Mexico grows sustainably..

Frequently asked questions from our readers:

The amount of food wasted in Mexico each year due to unequal distribution is 20 million tons. Read more here: https://www.equilibriumx.com/reciclate/distribucion-desigual-de-alimentos-en-mexico-donde-se-desperdician-20-millones-de-toneladas-al-ano
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Last modified: 2024-05-17T10:17:58+10:00

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