Minimising food waste: a call for multidisciplinary research
This perspective in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture calls for multidisciplinary collaboration to reduce food wastage. Whilst most emphasis has been put on increasing future crop production, far less resource has been and is still channeled towards enabling both established and innovative food preservation technologies to reduce food waste. Reducing food loss and waste is a more tractable problem than increasing production in the short to medium term. This is because its solution is not directly limited, for instance, by available land and water resources. The authors argue the need for a paradigm shift of current funding strategies and research programs which will encourage the development, implementation, and translation of collective biological, engineering, and management solutions to better preserve and utilize food. Such cross disciplinary thinking across global supply chains is an essential element in the pursuit of sustainable food and nutritional security. The implementation of allied technological and management solutions is reliant on there being sufficient skilled human capital and resource. There is currently a lack of robust postharvest research networks outside of the developed world, and insufficient global funding mechanisms which can support such multidisciplinary collaborations. There is thus a collective need for schemes which encourage inter-supply chain research, knowledge exchange and capacity building to reduce food losses and waste.