Mr Simon Costa
Project Manager, UN World Food Programme
Simon Costa is the former CEO and Group Managing Director of one of Australia’s largest private organizations and the largest horticulture and supply-chain company in the Southern Hemisphere. With over 13,000 employees and 65 business operations, Simon made the decision in 2011 to resign from all corporate responsibilities and focus his time and attention fully on improving the lives of others.
A 6 month voluntary position with the UN became a 4-year mission and, in December 2015, Simon and his team were awarded the prestigious United Nations Global Innovation Challenge Award, for the initiative with the greatest ‘disruptive potential’ for far-reaching societal change (creating a tangible impact towards eradicating global hunger and saving millions of lives every year.)
Towards Eradicating a Major Cause of Food Unavailability:
We are part of a world with an estimated 925 million people undernourished as a result of ongoing hunger. One in every three children suffers stunted growth. And nearly one in every two deaths in children under five is hunger related. Such alarming statistics seem incongruous with the fact our world actually produces sufficient food to feed all 7 billion people. The majority of our world’s agricultural research funding is dedicated to increasing food production, yet we continually overlook the causal factors of insufficient food supply, emanating from ineffective post-harvest handling and preservation practices. If hunger (responsible for more deaths every year than war or disease and the loss of more lives than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined) is not attributable solely to inadequate production of food, but rather insufficient availability of food, why isn’t more being done to reduce the shameful levels of food loss occurring in developing countries?
This presentation highlights how these significant food losses are a clear indication of a poorly functioning and inefficient food system and the area of highest concern (where the greatest percentage of crop losses are recorded) are pre-farm gate, where poor harvesting, drying, processing and storage of crops occurs. Recent, large scale practical implementation work with farmers has achieved very significant results in sustainably reducing food losses in Sub-Saharan Africa. This has seen reductions in food losses of up to 98% for over 50,000 farming families.