World Hunger Day: South Africa waste almost 30 percent of the food it produces

As we mark World Hunger Day CapeTalk presenter Pippa Hudson focused on the issue of how much food is wasted.

According to a United Nations report, the number of people starving around the globe has dropped from a high of more than 1 billion to less than 800 million. And in South Africa 11 million people are living without the fundamental security of regular meals while one third of all food produced in South Africa goes to waste.

We spoke to Professor Suzan Oelofse who is a scientist at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

About 10 million tons of food per year is wasted. This amounts to R61.5 billion.

Prof Oelofse's research indicates that a lot of wastage occurs before the food reaches households due to the way food is harvested, processed and packaged. After the food is bought about five percent of it is wasted by the consumer.

Their research also indicates that 53 percent of consumers waste about 20 percent of fruits and vegetables. And about 20 percent of stable food is also wasted due to a South African culture of preparing food for unexpected visitors.

What needs to be done?

  • Change the way we think about food
  • Buy less processed food
  • Buy locally produced food
  • Buy what is in season
  • Buy only what you need
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