Touchpoint Highlights: Tackling Food Losses

The seventh session in the SKI Touchpoint series was conducted by the Agriculture Practice Area, on the theme of ‘Tackling Food Losses: A Circular Approach.’

The session was moderated by Sattva Knowledge Institute’s Debaranjan Pujahari, Principal and Lead at Agriculture Practice Area of SKI, with Devyani Hari, Director at Centre for Responsible Business, as the chief discussant. The central focus of the webinar was to explore circular solutions within agricultural and food value chains, presenting a global avenue to unlock value from the estimated loss of US $4.5 trillion.

Given India’s distinction as a prominent contributor to both pre-harvest and post-harvest losses, the subject held profound importance within the agricultural sector. Despite adequate food production, the challenge lies in translating production into accessible sustenance. Compounding the urgency is India’s responsibility for 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture – third only to China and the US. This situation underscores the need to manage food losses. Reducing food wastage by 50% by 2050 would bridge the gap between current food availability and future requirements.

The session started with an overview of India’s current food loss scenario — approximately 900 thousand million tonnes of waste originating from the farm stage. The discussion centred on the intricate connection between food systems and overall food security, underscoring the significance of addressing food losses.

While India’s Global Hunger Index rank has improved, a substantial 16% of the population grapples with hunger and poverty due to a staggering 40% food wastage. The experts delved into transformative steps, like efficient storage and transportation, to address this.

As the dialogue progressed, Devyani also shared about the approach of circularity in tackling food losses where she discussed about the three main principles of circular economy models which are

  1. Minimising waste and pollution
  2. Preserving and Regenerating natural ecosystems
  3. Promoting Fairness and Inclusivity  

The final segment spotlighted the environmental and economic gains of managing food losses. Emissions tracking and traceability emerged as tools to foster sustainable agricultural practices, generate employment opportunities, and augment the value of farmers’ produce. The discourse also scrutinised the roles of key stakeholders and driving forces in this domain and focused on the need for collaboration between different stakeholders to tackle this together.

The ensuing questions touched upon existing investment gaps, potential technological advancements, and innovative solutions that could expedite the process of diminishing food losses.

In case you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording here:

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