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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Better Infrastructure Would Cut Food Waste

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Sara Schonhardt of the Wall Street Journal writes an illuminating article reporting on the main findings from our food security assessment paper. 

According to a recent study by the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a think tank the focuses on international development, between 10-50% of all crops are lost between the time they leave the farm and reach consumers.

Reducing post-harvest waste by just 10 percentage points could lower food prices and prevent 60 million people from going hungry, the Copenhagen survey says.

That means building more reliable infrastructure so food gets to markets and refrigeration faster. But doing so would come at an enormous cost — $240 billion worldwide over the next 15 years, the study estimates.

A better option, the study suggests, is putting more money toward agricultural research that could help increase crop yields. Putting around $6 billion a year into R&D could reduce the number of hungry people globally by 79 million by 2030, according to the study. That amounts to $34 of economic benefit for every dollar spent, it adds.

Mark W. Rosegrant, director of the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute and an author of the Copenhagen study, says it shows the importance of increasing investment in both infrastructure and agricultural research in Indonesia."

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