THEME : ‘THINK, EAT, SAVE, REDUCE YOUR FOODPRINT‘
The world environment day which was initiated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 run by United Nations Environment program, aims at taking positive environmental actions and it is celebrated 5th of June every year. ‘Think, eat, save, reduce your foodprint’ comes at a time when there are many food crisis all over the world with some attributed to the continuous increase in world population which is at seven billion today.
Despite all these crisis, it is important to note that over one billion tons of food is lost every year according to (UNEP). This means that food is not properly managed; we take more than we need and at the end of the day the left over becomes wasted while we simultaneously have poor people who hardly have something to eat.
At Green Cameroon, we are focused on environmental protection and we see and live this issue first hand. Though today the theme is focused on food, which is provided by the environment, we should understand that the more we waste our food the larger the burden that falls back to the environment. Therefore, we think this theme is timely.
In Africa and specifically in Cameroon where we are working, this problem is not an exception. We are found in an agriculturally rich zone with very fertile soils. People turn to over exploit the soil for food coupled with other bad systems of agriculture that are in practice. Green Cameroon would like to take this opportunity to highlight some negative environmental practices in our communities related to food and provide some plausible solutions.
In order to produce food we need to know why, for whom and how to go about it. Food production must be sustainable and you must know why you produce it (for self consumption or for the market). With this in mind we should know what quantity of food we are looking at so we do not cultivate too much which we cannot consume so that it becomes wasted.
Two practices that negatively impact the environment and are used in Cameroon are shifting cultivation and bush fallowing. These are not ideal due to the fact that they involve massive deforestation and forest burning which destroys soil micro organism.
With monocultures, large cooperation like the Cameroon Development Cooperation (CDC) use synthetic fertilizers and other chemicals as pesticides and herbicides which also affects the soil and biodiversity. We encourage organic farming and agro forestry so as to minimize the propagation of these bad practices.
Our eating habits are not favorable either. This is because we prepare too much food all of which we do not consume. At the end of the day the food is sent to the trash bin. Others who are financially better off, stock food in their houses which most often goes bad and is thrown away. There is need for better methods of food preservation for longer periods of time to reduce the level of wastage, hence the environment will be less affected and there will be some degree of sustainability.