Agriculture fulfils 80% of the world’s total food demand, making it the primary source of feeding the global population. However, all of the food produced by agriculture doesn’t make it to consumers. It is estimated by the United Nations Environment Programme that roughly 1.3 billion tonnes gets lost or wasted every year. This is a global issue that affects countries of all economic levels. In developing countries, food losses and waste amount to US$310 billion with 630 million tonnes of food lost. In industrialized countries, the economic cost is roughly double at US$680 billion while the amount of dissipated food is around a similar quantity of 670 million tonnes.
Food loss is a term used to describe food that is spoiled or damaged during growing crops and post-processing activities such as storage or distribution. Food waste, on the other hand, refers to food that has been wasted due to lack of consumption, usually at a retail level or by end consumers. Both food loss and food waste also amount to a major squandering of resources - water, land, energy, labour, and capital. In addition, this also produces needless pollution in landfills and greenhouse gas emissions, negatively affecting the environment. As the need for food grows, there are also bigger challenges that we have to combat to minimize food loss and waste.
Minimizing Food Loss at the Farm Level with Crop Protection Methods
The creation of food begins at the farm and protecting this is no small challenge. Food crops must compete with 30,000 weed species and 10,000 species of plant-eating insects, and those are just two of the many dangers that crops face. This first step in production can also be secured against food loss with crop protection.
New-age crop protection management gives food producers a chance to combat against yield- threatening weeds, insects, environmental stresses, and more. Modern technology offers ways to add security to every stage of the lifecycle of crops and aid their optimal growth and it should be optimized to improve food security. Crop protection methods include:
Herbicides to control weeds that threaten the crop yield
Protecting against diseases with fungicides which can lead to a healthier farm output
Pest control with insecticides and acaricides to reduce the loss of crops by pest attacks
Building the strength of the seeds with seed treatment products that can help crops grow by improving crop resilience and promoting uniform germination
These innovations in crop protection products are a boon to agriculture and as an extension, food security. Proper crop protection management can result in a successful and more effective yield of crops, preventing the wastage of valuable natural resources.
UPL is committed to helping prevent food loss through its leading crop protection methods keeping sustainability in mind. In addition to the methods mentioned above, UPL also provides other technologies that enhance the effectiveness of crop protection products and has an exclusive ProNutiva program with new developments in crop protection that targets higher yields and better quality. UPL always has the pain points of our customers in mind to develop new solutions for sustainable food production.
Crop protection methods take the steps to address food loss at the first link of the food value chain. To significantly reduce food loss on a global scale, attention needs to be paid to post-harvest activities as well. Good collaboration between producers, governments, and consumers can help prevent food loss and make sure that foods reach the people who need them.