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Kenyan Farmers Suffer Unfair Trading Leading To Huge Levels Of Food Waste

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Environmental organisation Feedback has uncovered systemic issues related to imbalances of power and unfair trading practices throughout European agricultural supply chains, resulting in significant impact on food waste levels, farmers livelihoods and food security.

Feedback’s report “Food waste in Kenya: Uncovering food waste in the horticultural export supply chain” published today reveals that Kenyan farmers are being subjected to unfair trading practices such as last minute cancellation of orders and unnecessarily strict cosmetic standards by European retail buyers resulting in massive amounts of food waste.

“Our investigations in Kenya have discovered that on average nearly 50 per cent of produce is being rejected by European retailers before export, despite there being no problem in quality or taste.” said Tristram Stuart, Founder of Feedback and author of Waste, Uncovering the Global Food Scandal (Penguin, 2009).

French beans, Kenya’s most exported vegetable, are subject to a process called ‘topping and tailing’ that results in 30 per cent of the product being wasted.

Unfair trading practices in addition to last minute order changes and cancellations result in huge amounts of food waste and forces farmers into cycles of debt and preventing them from covering basic needs like purchasing food and paying for school fees.

We are only paid for food that is exported. So, when an order is cancelled at the last minute, or when produce is rejected after landing in the UK, we lose money,” said Maina Kimemia, Chairman, Kenya Association of Fruit & Vegetable Exporters.

“Yet we cannot complain to our clients about these issues nor seek redress, for fear of losing business. These problems originate at the top of the supply chain, and are the result of retailers offloading financial risk on their direct suppliers, including the importers we supply.”

In the UK the Groceries Code Adjudicator has the power to regulate supermarkets’ behaviour towards direct suppliers to stop unfair trading practices. However, indirect suppliers such as farmers and exporters in countries like Kenya are not protected by this law despite being directly affected by supermarket practices such as last minute order cancellations.

Feedback’s Stop Dumping campaign is calling on the Groceries Code Adjudicator to launch an investigation into this type of unfair trading practices and for the UK government to extend the adjudicator’s remit to protect overseas suppliers.

“Feedback wants to see a strengthening of legislation to stop unfair trading practices and a relaxation in supermarket cosmetic specifications, to increase on-farm incomes and food availability where it is needed most,” said Edd Colbert, Campaign and Research Coordinator for Feedback.

“Food waste is a symptom of overproduction. Ultimately, the overproduction of food must be stemmed in order to provide longer-term social, environmental and economic development globally” concluded Colbert.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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