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Vietnam wastes huge volume of food
Tam An
Thursday,  Mar 8, 2018,21:13 (GMT+7)

Vietnam wastes huge volume of food

Tam An

Locals buy pork at a stall at a supermarket in HCMC. Huge amounts of food are wasted each year as the Vietnamese are still unaware of the importance of food cold chains - PHOTO: MINH TAM

HCMC – Vietnam annually discards millions of tons of food on the supply side alone due to poor preservation and transport conditions plus post-harvest losses, according to a survey conducted by CEL Consulting Vietnam, a supply chain management consulting company.

At the World Cold Chain Summit in HCMC on March 7, CEL Consulting general director Julien Brun said the waste of food in Vietnam was mentioned years ago but this is the first time quantitative figures had been established.

Vietnam annually loses 694,000 tons of meat, seven million tons of vegetables and fruits, and 805,000 tons of seafood during the preservation and transport processes. Besides, 168 million bananas, 11,000 pigs and 139,000 chickens cannot reach consumers each passing day.

Vegetables and fruits account for the largest proportion of wasted food products at 31%, including 26% being damaged in post-harvest, much higher than Southeast Asia’s average of 15%. Meanwhile, the rates for wasted meat and seafood are 14% and 12% respectively.

Brun said only 14% of farmers surveyed said they used the cold supply chains in the preservation, processing and transport of agricultural products. Thus, a huge volume of food products on which farmers have spent a lot of money, time and labor cannot reach consumers.

Brun called for farmers, producers and management agencies to take more efforts to protect food resources and create fresh and delicious food chains.

Luong Quang Thi, founder and CEO of ABA Company specializing in cold preservation and transport, said on the sidelines of the summit that wrong ways to store and transport food will not only waste food but also reduce its quality, affecting consumer health.

In Vietnam, both consumers and food producers are not aware of the importance of cold supply chains, a solution to reduce the wastefulness of food. In reality, some food processors have cut some steps in the cold chains to reduce costs while transport costs are high.

Such waste is based on data collected from the supply side only, while data on food waste on the side of consumers is not available.

However, John Mandyck, vice president for sustainable development at United Technologies Corporation, said that 40% of food is wasted worldwide, with one-third being discarded by consumers after making purchases, and two-thirds lost in the harvest, processing and transport processes.

Food wastefulness will worsen poverty, increase greenhouse gas emissions and waste clean water, he noted.

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