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← Please save food! | Vardan Urutyan Urutyan | TEDxYerevanSalon

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Showing Revision 13 created 09/11/2017 by Peter van de Ven.

  1. We and Our Mountains,
    have you seen this movie?
  2. I'm sure you did, and I think
    you will agree with me
  3. that this is the masterpiece
    of the Armenian cinematography.
  4. Every time you watch this movie,
  5. you discover something new
    on a broad range of topics,
  6. starting from politics
    and even agriculture and economics.
  7. I'd like to share a piece of that movie,
  8. that I consider very important
  9. for each farmer, an economist
    and even a policy maker.
  10. Let's watch that.
  11. (Video in Armenian)
  12. [Do you think taking the herd to the city
    like this is the right thing to do?]
  13. [First, we are not sheep sellers;
    the State is the one buying it.]
  14. [We are not supposed to get there
    and ask them to buy our sheep.]
  15. [They need to come and ask
    if we have any sheep to sell.]
  16. [Then they need to send
    100 trucks to load the sheep]
  17. [and get to the slaughter house
    in half an hour.]
  18. [There are 830 sheep ...
    70 km distance in two days ...]
  19. [Each sheep in these two days
    will lose at least two kg of weight.]
  20. [830 times two ... 1,660 kg]
  21. [or 1.6 tons of meat loss.]
  22. [1,600 divided by 20 makes 80 sheep.]
  23. [If someone supplies an extra 80 sheep,]
  24. [the State awards him the title of hero.]
  25. [His photo gets published
    in newspapers in Moscow,]
  26. [and he gets 1,000 rouble reward.]
  27. [Now we are witnessing a loss
    of 1.6 tons of meat,]
  28. [but nobody will blame us.]
  29. [While actually we should be imprisoned.]
  30. It's amazing, yeah?
  31. It's amazing how literate were
    the Armenian farmers in the 1960s.
  32. (Laughter)
  33. In one minute, Pavle was able to recognize
  34. that he's losing
    live weight of the animals,
  35. calculate how much was lost,
  36. and even suggest that, by the law,
    they are to be imprisoned.
  37. He's talking about the prevention,
    how to prevent the loss.
  38. In today's terms, these 80 sheep,
  39. which is now Armenia's
    top exportable product,
  40. would be worth about four million drams.
  41. There'll be no farmer
    that would like to have such a loss,
  42. if you realized about that.
  43. But in the modern world,
    it happens over and over again,
  44. in many sectors of the economy.
  45. Globally, food waste and loss
    is a hot topic, today.
  46. About 1/3 of the food produced
    in the world for human consumption
  47. gets wasted or lost.
  48. This is nearly 1.3 billion tons
  49. or more than half
    of the world's annual cereal crop.
  50. The issue should concern
    not only the rich, developed countries
  51. but also small developing
    countries, such as Armenia.
  52. Because in Armenia, agriculture
    and the food processing together
  53. make about 30% of the GDP of the country.
  54. We have a lot of people
    employed in agriculture,
  55. about 36% of the work force,
  56. and most importantly,
  57. we still have a high rate
    of rural poverty, about 32% nationwide,
  58. but in certain regions we have
    even more, alarming rate of rural poverty.
  59. Preventing food waste and loss
  60. will have a positive impact
    on raising incomes;
  61. improving food security,
    food quality and safety;
  62. on economic development;
    and on the environment.
  63. We need to recognize
    that the food waste and loss
  64. also represents waste of resources
    used in the production.
  65. Like in my case,
    if I lose apples and the wheat,
  66. then I also lose the resources
    I used in the production
  67. of these apples and the wheat,
  68. like energy, water, land, input.
  69. So, irrespective of the economic
    development of the country,
  70. the food waste and loss
    should be kept to a minimum.
  71. We are losing food
    across the food supply chain,
  72. starting from egg production
    to the consumption stage.
  73. In the field
  74. because of improper harvest timing,
  75. poor machinery,
  76. mechanical damage;
  77. in the post handling
    and the storage stage
  78. because of inappropriate
    storage conditions,
  79. poor temperature control;
  80. in the processing stage
    because of mechanical damage,
  81. during packaging and processing;
  82. in the groceries and markets,
    because of unsold food,
  83. outdated food,
  84. poor storage conditions;
  85. and in our homes.
  86. Was it because of wrong
    shopping behaviour?
  87. Plate waste?
  88. And again some poor storage?
  89. In fact I'd like to mention here
  90. that the loss is measured for the products
  91. that are directed to human consumption.
  92. Though sometimes, people,
    especially in rural areas, argue that:
  93. "We don't waste anything,
    we don't trash anything.
  94. We just feed to our cows and pigs."
  95. It's kind of an expensive food
    for the cows, right?
  96. I wonder if they ask the cows
    what to buy for the dinner.
  97. (Laughter)
  98. As to asking,
  99. we did a survey on food waste
    and loss in Armenia
  100. on several selected commodities,
  101. and we got shocking results.
  102. In fact, the methodology is based
  103. on Food and Agriculture Organization
    of the United Nations,
  104. and all allocation and the conversion
    factors have been considered.
  105. Here's what we have.
  106. About 30% of the wheat available
    for human consumption in Armenia
  107. gets wasted or lost every year.
  108. This is about 129,000 tons.
  109. The monetary value
    of that would be 32 million dollars.
  110. And this is in a country
    where wheat is a strategic crop,
  111. very important for food security.
  112. We are a net importer of wheat.
  113. We are importing about 60%
    of the total wheat we need in the country.
  114. If we just add these three numbers
    and convert to money,
  115. it would be 40 billion drams.
  116. Our statistics state
  117. that in order to eliminate poverty
    from our country,
  118. we need about 84 billion drams.
  119. We are throwing away, just in the case
    of these three commodities,
  120. about 40 billion drams.
  121. Where exactly we trash the food?
  122. It depends on each commodity.
  123. In the case of potato,
  124. the most of it happens
    during the production stage,
  125. mostly due to mechanical damage
    in the harvest time,
  126. and also some in the storage
    because of the poor condition.
  127. And it happened to myself.
  128. Couple of years ago,
    I rented a cold storage facility
  129. to keep my apples for the New Year,
  130. as many farmers do,
  131. and I lost 30% of it.
  132. It was about 1.5 tons, that time.
  133. This was because of poor
    temperature control,
  134. there was no proper disinfection done,
  135. poor boxing.
  136. Overall it was poor storage facility.
  137. And many farmers still face such problems.
  138. In the case of wheat,
  139. about 26% of the loss
    happens during the production.
  140. And these last two numbers, like 22, 15,
  141. which is the later stage of supply chain,
  142. 37% of wheat or bread and pastry,
  143. we are losing in our homes
    or supermarkets.
  144. The wheat loss, at the farm level only,
    equals to nine million dollars.
  145. Or in other terms,
  146. we can buy 90 brand new
    high technology combine harvesters.
  147. It's kind of ridiculous, right?
  148. From one side,
  149. because of mechanical damage
    due to poor machinery,
  150. we are throwing away
    90 brand new combine harvesters
  151. every year.
  152. In fact, in Armenia
    we have 1,400 harvesters.
  153. According to statistics,
  154. about 83% of them are operational.
  155. But how operational are they?
  156. It's a big question.
  157. I remember back in the mid 90s
  158. when I was studying
    at the Economics University -
  159. I see a lot of young people,
  160. I'm sure you've studied depreciation.
  161. Yes?
  162. I studied physical depreciation,
    financial depreciation,
  163. accounting depreciation
    and - a kind of a funny term -
  164. moral depreciation.
  165. Have you heard of a moral depreciation?
  166. A kind of a Soviet term, right?
  167. But I didn't realize that
    until in Canada, a couple of years later,
  168. I saw a combine harvester
    working in the field without a driver,
  169. through a GPS control satellite,
    just the high-tech stuff.
  170. Then I realized: compared to this machine,
  171. our machines will be morally depreciated.
  172. What should an Armenian farmer do,
    or what the farmer is doing,
  173. when a physically and morally
    depreciated machine,
  174. like this one,
  175. is trying to harvest
    the food of the farmer?
  176. He is praying.
  177. (Laughter)
  178. Because you never know
    what will happen to that machine
  179. when the harvest is over.
  180. But one thing is certain:
  181. Until the harvest is over,
    farmers look as tired as the machine.
  182. What to do?
  183. Let's act just as Pavle,
    from the movie, suggests:
  184. Recognize, calculate and prevent.
  185. Recognize the fact
  186. that we are wasting and losing food.
  187. We need to make people
    aware of this very important issue.
  188. Calculate the amount lost.
  189. As Peter Drucker said:
  190. "If you don't measure,
    you are not able to manage."
  191. And prevent.
  192. Of course, I'm not saying that we need
    to jail everyone - as Pavle says.
  193. But we can educate the farmer,
  194. we can invest in resource
    sufficient technologies,
  195. we can invest in new machinery,
  196. we can build modern enough
    cold storage facilities for our farmers.
  197. Or simply change our behavior.
  198. Gnel Ghazaryan, a live stock farmer
    in Arpi village of Vayots Dzor,
  199. already changed his livestock management
    behavior of the farming practices.
  200. He's transporting all his animals
    to the mountainous pastures
  201. using trucks - like Pavle suggested -
  202. and he saved, last year,
    four tons of animal live weight.
  203. After this study,
  204. I also completely changed
    my food-purchasing behavior.
  205. I don't think my wife is happy about that.
  206. I'm now acting as a food guard in my home.
  207. I stopped purchases
    of bulk quantities of food.
  208. I'm now doing more frequent
    purchases in less quantity,
  209. paying attention
    to the storage conditions, etc.
  210. The results are visible
    in our family budget.
  211. If some people can change behavior,
  212. why can't others do the same?
  213. If we all change our behavior,
    collectively as a country,
  214. if our development people
    and policy makers
  215. pay more attention
    to food waste and losses
  216. and the prevention of that mechanism,
  217. the results will be visible
    in our country budget.
  218. And pretty soon, we'll be able
    to eliminate poverty from our country.
  219. So, go home and, please, save food.
  220. (Applause)
  221. Thank you.
  222. (Applause)