ECONOMÍA

Opinión: La tragedia de los alimentos, producidos para ser basura

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La comida nos sobra; quienes mueren a causa del hambre, también. Esta es la absurda realidad que se vive en todo el mundo y, específicamente, en Perú, que genera tanto pérdidas económicas como daños ambientales. Entonces, ¿qué está sucediendo en el mercado para que los alimentos vayan directamente a la basura?

La ineficiencia del mercado

El desperdicio de los alimentos nos demuestra la irracionalidad de la oferta y demanda en un sector. Actualmente, son 870 millones de personas que sufren de desnutrición, es decir, 1 de cada 9 habitantes de la población total. A pesar de ello, el 33% de los alimentos producidos nunca llegan a ser vendidos. Y en los hogares solo utilizan el 75% de sus compras. En otras palabras, aproximadamente, el 50% de los alimentos son hechos para la basura.

Esto equivale a una pérdida económica mundial de 1.2 billones de dólares, que incrementará a $1.5 billones para el 2030[iv]. Adicionalmente, el costo social ambiental es 176 billones de dólares, dado que emite 4.4 GtCo2[v]. Por lo tanto, se observa que existe un grave problema con la gestión de alimentos porque está siendo desechada de manera ineficiente. Consecuentemente, la acumulación de residuos orgánicos emite mayor cantidad gas metano, lo que ocasiona un incremento en los efectos del cambio climático.

¿Cómo sucedió esto?

Este mal ocurre por 3 razones: el proceso ineficiente de producción, la percepción de belleza en los alimentos y la sobreestimación de necesidades en los hogares.

El primer factor es el resultado de problemas previos a la cosecha, como infestaciones de plagas, o problemas en la recolección, manejo, almacenamiento, empaquetado o transporte. El segundo motivo es que los alimentos no cumplen con el estándar respecto al tamaño y forma para ser aptos para el comercio. Mientras que la última razón es la incapacidad del consumidor para determinar correctamente sus necesidades, lo que provoca que el producto caduque. A continuación, se muestra el porcentaje de pérdida total según el tipo de alimento:

Y… ¿en Perú se está haciendo algo al respecto?

En 2016, el gobierno sacó la Ley de Donación de Alimentos que para que 500 millones de soles en alimentos a punto de vencer sean dirigidos gratuitamente a poblaciones necesitadas. Sin embargo, dicha ley no ha logrado su objetivo puesto que solo se puede deducir un 10% del impuesto a la renta por donar alimentos. Ello ha provocado que quemar los alimentos sea más barato para la empresa, tal como sucedía en el pasado.

Por otro lado, nosotros como consumidores peruanos botamos 150 millones de soles a la basura, lo cual nos posiciona como el sexto país latinoamericano con mayor desperdicio de alimentos. Entonces, ante este mal es de hora de tomar iniciativa racionalizar el mercado. El gobierno debe ser capaz de crear estas leyes que incentiven la donación ya que permitirá el desarrollo del capital humano. Los consumidores solo deberían comprar lo necesario. Solo así se pausará está absurda realidad.

Willy Mak
Futuro economista, enfocado en la gestión de los recursos naturales. Adicto al multitasking y al psicoanálisis. Detesta el chifa, pero ama la comida china.
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