"In a world of seven billion people, set to grow to nine billion by 2050, wasting food makes no sense – economically, environmentally and ethically," said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. Over 60 percent of the carbon footprint of food waste can be attributed to Asia and North Africa. According to the International Labour Organisation, 68% of Nepal's population is employed in the agriculture and forestry sector, accounting for 34% of the GDP. Nevertheless, Nepal struggles to produce an adequate supply of food for its citizens. Farmers have limited access to improved seeds, new technologies, and market opportunities. Declining agricultural production has depressed rural economies and increased widespread hunger and urban migration. Nepal reported more than 166 percent rise in cereal imports in 2011/12, when production of cereals stood at a record 7.57 million tons, prompting officials to claim a grain surplus of 886,000 tons. Construction of the gravity ropeway for easy and short transport has given benefits to the farmers by reducing their loss but still, Nepalese farmers lose about 25-30 percent of their food products annually.
Nepal Agriculture Research Council has been doing research on post harvest. There is a loss of 25 percent in vegetables, 20 percent in fruits and 32 percent in potatoes and its seeds, according to post harvest studies.
A lot of farm produce is wasted. Problems lie in harvesting, storage, packing, transport, infrastructure or market / price mechanisms, as well as institutional and legal frameworks. What do farmers do in such cases except let it rot. A good crop gone waste is equivalent to a bad crop except worse. Further finances required for investment in crop cripples the system and the village economy. It becomes a cycle. Even if the govt and other local entities provide them loans, there isn't any paying back because more than 50 percent of what they produce is swept by the market at ingenuinely low prices or worse is left to rot.
Other aspect of food waste lies in the supply chain. Harvested bananas that fall off a truck, for instance, is food loss. Food that is fit for human consumption, but is not consumed because it is or left to spoil or discarded by retailers or consumers is food waste. This may be because of rigid or misunderstood date marking rules, improper storage, buying or cooking practices. Food processing industries on account of low demand for their products in the market see a lot of the raw material on board or somewhere down the supply chain go waste.
But what do these entities do in such a situation or to prevent the situation itself. In Asia, new research on best practices is helping small-scale farmers limit food loss and repurpose on-farm waste. But does this research trickle down to the society when the need it. A myriad of solutions exist for each. What suits you best depends on your situation, the quantity in hand, its quality and further market and weather conditions.
There's no one key to unlock all caves. So how can a single solution fit all problems. Dhaaga -sewn solutions is an initiative to connect anyone and everyone (be they small scale farmers or food processing industry strategists ) to waste management and agricultural experts. The application will collect data from journals and research papers to formulate a recommender system that will suggest the different ways to minimize or better utilize the user asked type of waste. Just enter the type of waste or service or advice you need and our application servers are going to sift through a repository of data and recommend you a list of available solutions using state of the art AI technologies. Choose a solution from the many and get connected to one of the AICC members regarding its implementation or request a one on one consultation with them to discuss your concerns. The agricultural research departments of the different universities can be connected to the real world problems on the lines of ATIC in India. It will be a thread that connects this deep divide. You will find the best of the solutions from agricultural experts all at one place. Just access the mobile application on your cell phone or access the web application on the computer at the village panchayat. It's all upto you. Solutions are just an sms away.
How it all works?
The data from application usage can be analysed to generate insights on what waste management problems different areas face which can be used to better formulate policies and bring products to cater to needs of a specific region.
Better management of the food resources will add to the income of the farmers and the food processing industries. This consumer data on how best a farmer manages it's resources and farm produce will generate a credibility factor. A higher factor will equate to better market sentiment and larger investment by public and institutional investors in a farm's stocks. For this purpose, smaller landholdings can be clubbed into one single farm enterprise for the purpose of implementation of the same. A competitive financial market for individual farm stocks will lead to farmers getting the required finances at market justifiable rates and investor penetration will enable them to better monitor their crops through the use of better technologies through the one stop shop- dhaaga. This incentive will make the agricultural industry competent and better abreast with the technological developments. So no more middle men and lords offering loans at undefined rates of interest in the absence of banks.