Food waste is a hot topic, and rightfully so, but often the focus is solely on the food itself, and the staggering amount of water wasted along with it is overshadowed. More than one quarter of all the water used globally is spent producing over a billion tons of food that goes uneaten, according to the International Water Institute.
Around one third of all food produced is wasted, and the numbers are even worse for fruits and veggies, with around half of what’s produced never getting consumed. Water makes up between 80-90% of the weight of most fruits, so this gives you an idea of how interrelated these issues really are!
In a hot summer like this one, or last year when drought wreaked havoc across the U.S. (to the tune of $11.6 billion in losses), the value of every drop of water should be higher than ever. With up to 80% of our potable water devoted to agriculture, finding ways to waste less food and improve water efficiency should be a top priority.
There are a number of ways water efficiency can be improved, and chief among them is agricultural biotechnology. Drought-resistant biotech crops have already demonstrated they’re a valuable tool in reducing water usage, and there are also substantial indirect benefits.
Even prior to drought resistance, biotech crops have a proven track record of increased yields, largely from pest resistance; so more food can be produced with the same amount of water.
Even our own nonbrowning Arctic® apples are part of the solution! Without the appearance of bruises and browning, fewer apples (which are 84% water) will be wasted from the orchard all the way to the consumers’ lunch.
No matter what your views on biotechnology, it’s clear it’s part of the solution to a sustainable earth. Farmers should be able to use any tool they can get when it comes to reducing unnecessary water and food waste – and biotech crops may be the most useful tool of all.