Half of world food output is wasted while half the world’s population is malnourished

food-waste

It is the excesses of the capitalist system together with failed government agricultural policies mixed with a wasteful and spendthrift society that has created this nasty cocktail

Half of food produced in the world is wasted, according to a recent report: Global Food – Waste Not, Want Not. This is shamefully shocking in its own right but when half the world’s population goes to sleep each night malnourished it is obscene. Add to this that fact that obesity is rapidly growing in the western world, particularly among children, while 6 million children in the developing world die annually from malnourishment and it is a damning indictment of capitalism – the dominant ideology and economic system that has governed much of the world for the last two centuries.

The rampages of globalisation has given monopsony buying power to a few massive western multinational enterprises, who trample all over the globe sourcing farm supplies from the lowest bidders of impoverished nations.  Prices of farm produce are squeezed to such an extent that it’s more profitable to leave ‘inadequate’ quality crops in the ground to rot or to throw away than to pay the price for its air transport, storage and quality packaging to bring to western supermarkets with discerning consumers.

In the author’s word, “…30% of what is harvested from the field never actually reaches the marketplace (primarily the supermarket) due to trimming, quality selection and failure to conform to purely cosmetic criteria”.

After the shop “30–50% is thrown away by the final purchaser in the home”. More food is thrown away in restaurants, hotels and by food businesses.

While overproduction caused by intensive farming, which not only damages the soil and the environment, has lowered the price of produce making it worth less, it is the profligate and wasteful culture in western society that considers food, after even the slightest deficiency, as worthless.

This is not new though. In much the same way excess supplies of food were wasted across Europe as a result of government policy – the Common Agricultural Policy – in past decades rather than allowed on markets to depress profits.

It is the excesses of the capitalist system together with failed government agricultural policies mixed with a wasteful and spendthrift society that has created this nasty cocktail. Each and every person in the world has the right to sustenance. For governments, systems or ideologies to fail so miserably in this regard is criminal. Yet under capitalism hunger is a way of life for billions the same time as half the world’s food production is thrown away.

The noble Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

“The Son of Adam has no better right than that he would have a house wherein he may live, a piece of clothing whereby he may hide his nakedness and a piece of bread and some water”. [Tirmidhi]

The Islamic Shariah has laid out a clear and detailed direction for developing agriculture. Uncultivated land is easily acquired while land, which is unutilised is confiscated from their owners after three years and given to those who will utilise it. Lease holding agricultural land in prohibited, though private ownership is at the core of agricultural development. Agricultural land and output – plantation and crops – provides a key and substantial source of taxation revenue for agricultural investment.

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