New emerging traceability technologies like IoT sensors, blockchain, and food-sensing technologies could reduce food loss by 85 million tonnes by 2030, according to a report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Nearly one-third of global food production is currently wasted, and yet nearly 800 million people are chronically undernourished. In addition, food systems are responsible for 25% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, while the World Health Organization estimates that 600 million people fall ill and 420,000 die each year due to contaminated food.
Food supply is dependent on highly complex supply chains that are not transparent and difficult to trace end-to-end. From food fraud to food-borne illness and food loss caused by inefficiencies in the supply chain, lack of production and supply chain visibility affects the quality of food but also is a major contributing factor in food waste.
In response to this challenge, the World Economic Forum has launched a project accelerator initiative that aims to harness the transformative power of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to better address food-system challenges.
The WEF report also identifies several areas for collaboration, including policies, standards and economic models that help support the inclusive scaling of new food-related technology solutions that can alleviate poverty.
One of the key objectives is enhancing traceability as this will address consumer demand for food production transparency and further enhance the ability to identify, respond to, and prevent food safety issues.
Furthermore, it could reduce the exposure to the outbreak of food risks by making it faster, more efficient, and more feasible to identify a source of food contamination and thereby mitigating the impact.
“The Government of The Netherlands is committed to supporting linking of such technologies in the agri-food sector to local innovation systems in an inclusive and sustainable way to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation said on January 23.
“Now is the time to look at emerging technologies and ask ourselves what it is we can do, on the policy and advocacy side, to ensure they are moving the world in the direction of inclusive and sustainable development,” added the Senior Director of the World Bank’s Food and Agriculture Global Practice, Juergen Voegele.