PROGRESS has liberated mankind from the shackles of ignorance and has opened a new world of enlightenment. Latest technologies have improved the living standards, and new techniques in agriculture have paved the way for large-scale production. But some areas still paint a bleak picture, like, say, food shortage.

It is estimated that about 30-35 per cent of all food produced globally is never consumed. Meanwhile, 800 million people go to bed hungry every night. The situation is no less grim in Pakistan, an agricultural country with a surplus wheat production. Pakistan is ranked among the lowest countries on the Global Hunger Index.

According to the World Food Programme, 40pc children aged under five years are currently stunted, and 29pc are underweight. Similarly, 36 million tonnes of food is wasted in the country every year and 18pc of its people face severe shortage.

To prevent this situation, we have to make sure that the leftover food in restaurants and marriage halls does get donated to impoverished people suffering from hunger. And, this needs to happen within the shelf-life of the food in question. The government, charitable organisations and food banks can collaborate in this regard. We can follow the footsteps of countries like France, Norway, Denmark and the United Kingdom in this regard.

In France, for example, supermarkets prioritise reduction, reuse and recycling of extra food. The inedible food can be given to the cattle and used as compost. A campaign is needed to raise awareness among the public to prevent food wastage. After all, it is our moral and religious obligation not to waste food.

Ayesha Mehmood
Multan

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2021

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