Water Footprint in the Mediterranean Food Chain: Implications of Food Consumption Patterns and Food Wastage
International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Volume 3, Issue 2, March 2014, Pages: 26-36
Received: Dec. 17, 2013;
Published: Jan. 30, 2014
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Roberto Capone, Department of Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (IAMB), International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), via Ceglie 9, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Philipp Debs, Department of Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (IAMB), International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), via Ceglie 9, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Hamid El Bilali, Department of Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (IAMB), International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), via Ceglie 9, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Gianluigi Cardone, Department of Mediterranean Organic Agriculture, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (IAMB), International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), via Ceglie 9, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Nicola Lamaddalena, Department of Land and Water Resources Management, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (IAMB), International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), via Ceglie 9, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Consumed food type, composition and quantity affects water resources demand (cf. water footprint). Since blue water resources availability is limited in the Mediterranean area diets shifting and food losses and waste reduction are key strategies. The paper aims at analyzing the water footprint of food consumption and implications of food waste in terms of water demand. The paper is based on secondary data mainly from the FAO Food Balance Sheets and the Water Footprint Network. Approximately 91% of the water footprint (WF) in the Mediterranean is due to the consumption of agricultural products. Dietary energy ranges between 2,130 (Palestine) and 3,666 kcal/day/person (Turkey). The share of vegetal-based energy in the diet ranges from 66.5% in France to 88.9% in Palestine. Total WF of food supply in Italy (1848.3) is higher than in Finland (1116.7) but lower than in the USA (2198.7 m3/capita/year). The highest water footprint is the green one, followed by the grey then the blue one. Meat and dairy products represent about a half of the WF of food supply. The contribution of cereals is significant in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries. The high Mediterranean consumptive water use is exacerbated by food losses and waste. In Egypt, losses in the rice supply chain are about 25%. Food loss and wastage account for more than one quarter of the total consumptive freshwater use. A 50% decrease in food losses and waste at the global level would save 1,350 km3 a year. Adoption of more sustainable food consumption patterns and production systems and the reduction of food losses and waste can help reducing pressure on the scarce water resources in the Mediterranean. Food waste reduction interventions will have significant impact on freshwater resource availability as other water use efficiency measures in agriculture and food production.
Hamid El Bilali,
Water Footprint in the Mediterranean Food Chain: Implications of Food Consumption Patterns and Food Wastage, International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences.
Vol. 3, No. 2,
2014, pp. 26-36.
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