More than 900 millions people in the developing countries have been suffering from hunger and malnutrition. In other part of the world, people in the developed countries have been wasting their foods. These contradictionary situations have to be addressed. Global efforts to end hunger and malnutrition must go hand in hand with the efforts to curb food waste. This is the message of Ambassador Arif Havas Oegroseno’s presentation in a one-day-seminar titled “Combating Malnutrition through Sustainable Interventions: EU-ASEAN Relations as a Key Driver” which was held in Brussels on November 8, 2011. Ambassador Oegroseno and the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva were panellists in this prestigious event which was opened by the President of the European Council Hermann van Rompuy (ex-PM of Belgium) and moderated by Prof. Mark Eyskens, ex-PM of Belgium.
A 2010 report of FAO highlighted that around 925 million people suffer from malnutrion. The causes were not so much of the incapability of the world to produce enough food for everyone but more of the problem of many people have no access to land to plant and have not enough money to buy enough food for them and their families. Compared to the situation 30 years ago, today the world produced extra 17% calories needed by each person (2,720 kcal per day) although there are 70% more people living on earth today than it was 30 years ago.
Ambassador Oegroseno highlighted the report which also stated that one-third of food produced for human consumption were wasted. It was 1.3 billion tones per year. The habit of throwing away food in the developed countries was quite alarming. FAO estimated that each person in Europe and North America thrown away 95-115 kilograms of food each year, while the number for sub-Saharan Africa and North Asia was 6-11 kilograms per person per year.
In low-income countries, food is wasted due to the climate, poor harvesting technology, poor after harvest processing, and also poor food storage processing. In higher-income countries, food is wasted due to the consumer attitude and the lack of coordination in the food chain. It is not only a waste of resources, but also resulted in the increased emissions of greenhouse gasses.
With its strong economic growth of more than 6% per year, Indonesia gives its attention to the problem of malnutrition. Although the percentage of people living in poverty has been decreasing, priority is given to efforts to alleviate poverty. The priority is reflected in its 3 (three) national development pillars: pro poor, pro job and pro growth. Private sector plays indispensable role in this endeavour. It’s role through the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program is regulated by the Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 40 of 2007 concerning Limited Liability Company and the Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 25 of 2007 on Investment which require each company to carry out CSR program.
The good practice in Indonesia can be a model for other countries aiming at putting an end to hunger and malnutrition. (Brussels, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia).