Packaging As Development Assistance

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The packaging industry and aid agencies should form a new public &ndash private partnership to develop innovative packaging solutions to reduce the waste of food in developing countries, according to julian carroll, managing director of europen, the european organization for packaging and the environment.speaking at the save food congress, part of the packaging industry&rsquos biggest trade fair interpack, mr carroll highlighted the misconceptions about packaging and the lack of understanding by many policymakers of the valuable role packaging can play in reducing waste, and therefore promoting food availability. Referring to packaging as &ldquothe cinderella of the food world,&rdquo mr carroll instead painted a picture of packaging playing a central role in answering the question &lsquohow do we feed the nine billion&rdquo.sprawling food wastecarroll directly confronted critiques of the industry by making the case for packaging&rsquos role in reducing food waste and food loss, which according to the swedish institute for food and biotechnology amounts to 2.3 billion tonnes of food a year. In india, for example, postharvest food loss of fruits and vegetables can be as high as 50, or 80 million tonnes, which is almost as high as the total production of fruit and vegetables in the european union. The discarding of edible food throughout the eu amounts to 11 of total food production in europe, or 89 million tonnes. Carroll explained &ldquolet me put these numbers into perspective. In 2008, the total amount of food the world gave as food aid to poor countries amounted to 6.3 million tonnes. This is less than a tenth of the amount of food uk consumers alone threw away each year.&rdquopackaging as development assistancewith the global population expected to rise to over nine billion people by 2050 and agricultural experts predicting a need to increase agricultural production by as much as 70 to feed the world, carroll lamented the fact that packaging has never been considered by policymakers as part of the equation to address food security issues. Therefore carroll called on the packaging industry to join forces with aid agencies, policymakers, farmers and food processors to create a public private partnership that aims to further build packaging infrastructure in developing countries to reduce the amount of food wasted postharvest, at market and among consumers. This will enable farmers to profit more from their harvest and increase the overallfood basket of food in secure regions around the world. &ldquolet&rsquos go on and work together to explore the formation of a public private partnership between aid agencies and the packaging industry aimed at delivering that help to build packaging infrastructure. Itwould be a winwin situation for both parties,&rdquo said carroll in the conclusion of his speech.the rationale behind this approach is clear. Firstly, there are a range of very inexpensive packaging options that can help protect produce and dramatically reduce food loss, such as crates that protect fragile fruits and vegetables that can be used over and over again. Secondly, in the longterm, as consumers in developing and emerging economies become wealthier, they will be able to afford more packaged foods, which will help reduce food waste even his speech, carroll likened the role packaging can play in addressing food security to the ability of sewage systems to improve overall health. Proper sewage has done more to extend life expectancy than all the miracles of modern medicine. Likewise, decent packaging is likely to make more food available to more people than expensive biotechnology.savings in the north to help the south&ldquowhat is the point in devoting so much effort to produce more food, if that food rots or is thrown away why put millions of acres under the plough just to waste the resulting crop&rdquo carroll asked the audience. Carroll also explained that by bringing to market new packaging innovations to reduce food waste in rich countries, these countries will need to import less food and could free up additional food to provide as food aid.

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