Eliminating food waste could effectively increase food production
Eliminating food waste
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Lead Applicant Organization Type
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
The region was home to the Kanem-Bornu Empire for centuries. Maiduguri actually consists of two cities: Yerwa to the West and Old Maiduguri to the east.
Yerwa was founded in 1907 by Abubakar Garbai of Borno as the capital of the Bornu Kingdom. The location had before that been a small village known as Kalwa. This involved the transfer of the capital of the Kanuri people from Kukawa.
Old Maiduguri was selected by the British as their military headquarters in 1908 replacing Mafoni. In that same year it became the location for the British resident commissioner over British Bornu.
In 1957 Yerwa became the designated name for the urban center while Maiduguri was officially applied as the name of the surrounding rural area.
In 1964 the railway was extended here which lead to its rise as a major commercial center in the region.
The city was once known as a "hub of Islamic scholarship in West Africa that ... [taught] tolerance and hospitality like its welcoming neem trees."
Maiduguri is one of the sixteen LGAs that constitute the Borno Emirate, a traditional state located in Borno State, Nigeria
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
This study is concerned with the relation between food wastage reduction and the improvement of food security.
By food security we mean that all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and
nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. This food
security has a global and long term element to it (9 billion people to feed in 2050) and can be targeted at national,
local and even individual level.
In recent years, food waste and food loss (together called food wastage in this study) have become high on the
agenda of policy makers, researchers, business and civil society organisations. Many of those actors claim a
positive relation between the reduction of food wastage and eliminating hunger and malnutrition. However, what
is known on the link between those two factors?
As a result, the central question of this inventory study is to what extent interventions to reduce food wastage are
effective contributions for food security, in particular for local access in developing regions, but also the food
system stability in general?
To investigate this, an overview of international actors working in the field of wastage has been made, with a
European/Dutch focus. Their activities and motivations and their assumptions on the relation between reducing
food wastage and increasing food security have been mapped. Following this, a synthesis of insights on this
relation from scientific and grey literature was made. Finally, conclusions were drawn upA first, large group of active global, European and Dutch actors make implicit statements on the relation between
food wastage in Western and low- and middle-income countries and food security, suggesting a link, but without
explicitly explaining how one issue affects the other.
A second group of actors tries to deliver a more direct impact on food security by contributing to reducing pre-and post-harvest food loss in value chains in developing countries, for example with technological solutions in
Literature shows that some food wastage interventions can have a direct impact on short-term food security
conditions, in particular availability of food, but this depends on the circumstances. Nevertheless, the more direct
effect of reducing waste in Western countries on food supplies, livelihood and food prices, in particular in
developing countries, is less clear.
A third group of actors focuses on reducing waste on the consumer side of the supply chain in developed
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
1. Prevent and Reduce Food Waste in Your Own Life
The most important step you can take to reduce our nation’s level of food waste is to reduce your own personal food waste. To get started, try keeping a food waste journal. One easy way to get started is by taking our I Value Food: Too Good to Waste challenge. In this 6-week program, you’ll keep track of how much food you throw away and why. This helps you determine both what you’re wasting and what you can do about it. Solutions range from planning meals ahead of time to creating new cooking and food storage habits to technology solutions, such as food-sharing apps.
TAKE THE CHALLENGE: Learn easy ways to waste less food and save money
2. Volunteer with Local Food Rescue Organizations
Hundreds of organizations across the country are actively working to rescue and redistribute safe, edible food to those in need. Many of these organizations rely heavily on volunteer support. If you can spare the time, volunteering is a great way to have an impact on the specific food waste challenges in your area. You can find local food donation, food rescue or food gleaning operations through our Food Rescue Locator or check out these great
4. Start a Food Waste Campaign in Your Community
Consider bringing the “I Value Food” message to community groups you’re involved with, like your workplace, church or children’s school. Start by asking them to share information about the food waste issue in an upcoming newsletter. Then look for ways you can help them prevent and reduce waste, like donating extra food from cafeterias or meetings to shelters or starting a composting program. If you already have a “green team” or employee engagement program, consider adding food waste to your group’s action items and taking a food waste challenge together.
5. Support Businesses with Good Food Waste Practices
There are a lot of restaurants and grocery stores making strides in sustainability. Get to know which ones in your area are working to prevent food waste. Ask businesses if they donate excess food to feed the hungry or if they compost their kitchen scraps. Do they try to incorporate nose-to-tail food use philosophies? If so, let them know you appreciate their work. Some might be surprised by your questions, but raising the issue raises awareness and starts the conversation. Search for “sustainable,” “slow food,” “zero-waste” and “green” restaurants to find businesses in your area.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
While the health impacts have been dire, the biotech revolution
has had a very positive impact on global environmental issues.
Biofuels provide a source of cheap, clean and renewable energy
which has replaced the former reliance on fossil fuels. Similarly,
fossil fuel-based plastics, which were a major waste issue, have
been replaced with biodegradable bioplastics. The facilities
which produce these products also remove and use CO2 from
the atmosphere. The conversion of agricultural land from food
to biomass production has additionally resulted in a net CO2
absorption, along with a reduction in soil degradation and the use
of toxic pesticides and fertilizers. The dramatic decline in livestock
numbers has meant that there is also far less methane coming
from ruminants. Finally, with less land total needed for agriculture
more has been returned to conservation and reforestation.
Opportunities in this scenario:
• Cheap and abundant food eliminates poverty as a driver
• Low-income countries diversify their economies and end
dependence on food imports.
• Reduction in greenhouse gases, pollution and habitat loss.
Threats in this scenario:
• Over 2.5 billion people lose their livelihoods.
• Economic inequalities could worsen if economic
diversification does not occur, increasing the poor
population’s dependence on food assistance.
• Massive rural-to-urban migration, expansion of slums and
challenges for basic service provision.
• Global increase in obesity and related health issues.
Indicators of this trend becoming reality:
• Biotech food products exist and are already entering the
market in limited quantities of high-value items.
• Biotechnology is rapidly advancing and costs are
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Today, in the year 2050, there are over 9.7 billion people in the
world, with net population growth over the past half century
in Asia and Africa.13 Populations are highly urban now, with
these two regions also seeing the most urbanization in recent
decades. There are also far fewer people living in extreme
poverty. With the increased food accessibility that comes with
less poverty, per person kilocalorie consumption has grown
by 3% in high-income countries, and 9.5% in low-income
countries since 2015.14 As a consequence, total demand for
food has grown with today’s larger and wealthier populace.
Agricultural production has been able to keep pace with
increasing demand by growing at a steady rate of around 2%
per year,15 which has kept food prices low for decades. In order
to achieve this, the use of industrial agriculture has expanded
and become more efficient. Industrial farming systems continue
to supplant traditional systems, particularly throughout Eastern
Europe, Latin America, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. The
industrial production system is based on increasing production
through capital inputs, such as mechanization, irrigation, highyield seed varieties, and artificial fertilizers and pesticides. The
amount of agricultural land has expanded to a small extent
through land-use conversion,16 with most of this occurring in
high latitudes as the boreal zone thaws from climate change.
Most production increases have instead been attained by
closing yield gaps (the difference in potential and actual yields),
with the most noticeable improvements being in sub-Saharan
Africa. Additionally, improvements in technology and practices
have also increased total factor productivity (TFP), meaning that
farmers are able to produce more, with the same amount of inputs.
Keeping the world fed comes with costs. The environmental
consequences are great. Industrial agriculture relies on the heavy
use of external inputs, like chemical fertilizers and pesticides,
which can pollute the land and water and decrease biodiversity.
This production system can also lead to soil degradation through
tilling and the use of external inputs, which lead to erosion,
damage to soil structure, and the killing off of beneficial microbes.
There are some improvements being made to help reduce the
impact, such as the growth in precision agriculture, which makes
use of remote sensing and GPS to more efficiently use inputs and
reduce pollution. Yet, the environmental costs are taking a toll on
the world. Land degradation and climate change are threatening
future gains in net agricultural production, while already some of
the increased production must go to covering the losses from
these environmental changes. It is becoming a vicious cycle
,where production leads to environmental costs that cut into
production, so production is further increased along with the
environmental costs, and so on until the system risks collapsing.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?