The world is far from perfect, and many challenges are resolved. The problem that should be the number one priority is food waste management.
According to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, one-third of food produced for human consumption is wasted. That's 1.3 billion tonnes a year. On the other hand, according to the Food Aid Foundation, 795 million people are starving and malnourished. It accounts for 12.9% of the world's population.
When we talk about innovation and change in the status quo, can those obvious numbers be ignored?
The gap between the product and the consumer is the main reason for the significant waste of food. Agriculture is a rural activity and requires open economies to cultivate crops. But in the cities there are consumers.
Sometimes crop yields have to travel up to 1000 kilometers before retail shelves arrive. Food is spoilage, and much of it becomes useless before it reaches its destination. Refrigerator vehicles were a great innovation to solve this problem. But moving refrigerator is a valuable offer and not available to developing and third world countries. Ironically they need the most.
To solve this problem, startups bring farming closer to consumers.
Innovative Solution 1: Hydroponics
We always assumed that agriculture needed land and open economies. But beginners in the 21st century are challenging this assumption. They use hydroponics, which has no soil.
These closed hydroponic farms are located closer to the city centers. Nutrients are nourished by the growing crop by slaughtering it with rich nutrition. That's why the name is hydroponics. In the absence of sunlight, the light is provided with LED lamps.
This technique requires only a glass of water, about 5% compared to traditional farming methods. Aerofarm and Plenty startups also use technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science to increase productivity and crop yields. These crops are also healthier and are enriched with more nutrition.
Innovative Solution 2: Food monitoring
Many times the food takes longer than planned. this may be due to vehicle insufficiency, bad weather or even local strikes and other reasons.
Hydroponics is in its early days. Its share in world food is minus today. Large crops and food are lost in transit. Innovators use RFID tags or RFID technology to solve this problem.
This technology is used to track the inventory of clothing in the fashion industry. Airlines use these RFID tags to track luggage. Now it is adapted for food storage in inventory and transit.
With RFID tags we know where the food is. We can decide whether or not it will reach its intended destination. If the transit takes longer than planned, the food trip may be limited. Food can be sold at local grocery stores at reduced prices, or we can share it with needy people.
Innovation Solution 3: Robin Hood Army.
Not all food problems can be solved by technology alone. We also need the heart. And that's where the Indian Army's Robin Hood headquarters shines.
They associate hunger in restaurants and nearby places with unnecessary food. It is a non-profit organization run by volunteers. Mostly students. The Robin Hood Army is present in over 100 cities in India.
It can be said, finally, that food waste is now being radarized, and entrepreneurs are working hard to push the boundaries to solve this acute problem.