Almost 20 per cent of grain in China lost or wasted from field to fork

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A comprehensive new review of food waste in China has concluded that about 19 per cent of its grain is wasted, according to a report from the American Chemical Society.

An estimated one-third to one-half of food produced worldwide is lost or wasted from farm to fork, but the problem is especially acute in China. With only six per cent of the world’s total water resources and barely nine per cent of the arable land, China nevertheless must feed 21 per cent of the world’s population.

Researchers found about 19 per cent of rice, wheat and other grain in China is lost or wasted, with consumer waste accounting for the largest portion — seven per cent. The overall loss also means about 177 billion cubic yards of water are used to produce food that is never eaten — a volume equal to the amount of water Canadian farmers use to grow all their crops — and that 64 million acres of cropland are sown and harvested in vain.

The report recommends several strategies, including raising public awareness, improving storage systems, mechanizing the harvest of grains and putting in place monitoring programs to track food waste with more precision.

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