Despite abundant food production, 47 million Latinos go hungry. Malnutrition in Latin America requires agritech and food tech solutions from within.
FREMONT, CA: Despite abundant food production, 47 million Latinos go hungry. Fruits and vegetables, salmon, maize, sugar, and coffee are all exported from the area. Agricultural production accounts for 4.7 percent of Latin American GDP and employs at least 14 percent of the region's population.
Paradoxically, the number of undernourished persons in the area has risen by roughly 13 million in the last five years. Hunger will afflict 67 million people in the area by 2030, according to the Pan American Health Organization, excluding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food waste is a serious issue in Latin America and the Caribbean where more than a third of the food produced each year is lost or squandered. With a better distribution channel, the discarded food could feed up to 2 billion people worldwide.
The snag: Malnutrition in Latin America requires agritech and food tech solutions from within. Not just because Latin America is rich in natural resources, but because practically every Latino has experienced food poverty in some form, and only someone who knows the issue can design a solution.
Fortunately, Latin America is a hotbed of innovative minds developing agritech and food tech solutions to improve food distribution, boost agricultural efficiency, and end hunger. Entrepreneurs help farmers get better equipment, decrease food waste, and create plant-based goods. These solutions address the whole food production chain, from fields to plates.
Tools that assist farmers to enhance field production may help decrease food waste. In Minas Gerais, Sensix employs drones and machine intelligence to map soil fertility. When natural light is scarce, Chilean firm Ciencia Pura uses software to illuminate plants at various stages of development.
The supply chain may help minimize food waste and thereby greenhouse gas emissions.
Food is thrown out in one community because it is “imperfect” and is nonetheless edible in another when people are hungry. Argentine entrepreneurs are changing logistics: Nilus rescues food that would otherwise be thrown away and distributes it to low-income neighbors at a discount. A company called Savetic creates algorithms to track food waste in grocery stores and anticipate customer patterns.
Reusing agricultural waste is another way to decrease food waste. Fotortec, a Chilean firm, turns agricultural waste into taste and protein-rich mushrooms. Bio Natural Solutions exploits tropical fruit waste to create a natural, nontoxic food preservation solution.
Finally, businesses are discovering plant-based protein and nutrition products that are eco-friendly. Plant Squad, established in Mexico City, creates nutrient-dense, eco-friendly plant-based protein products Faba, from So Leopoldo, Brazil, uses chickpeas to extract protein.
The Latin American food system is vast and complicated but businesses are leading the way in mobilizing support for these entrepreneurs.Investors and other ecosystem builders from across the world are interested in agritech and food tech. Food waste may be decreased if businesses got greater assistance from these key ecosystem partners.