Production Vulnerability, Collective Term for Vegetable Degradation and Mortality

Author(s): Shahi Mulk*

We are switching to sustainable vegetable production to combat resource waste and pollution. However, knowledge gaps exist regarding key constraints and how to achieve a sustainable vegetable supply. Here, we integrate data on vegetable production and supply in China and use data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the national bureau of statistics to map the current state to the five advanced horticultural countries: The United States, the Netherlands, Greece, compared with Japan and Korea. Projections of vegetable supply in 2030 and 2050 by China and model projections. China’s vegetable supply increased from 592 g person d−1 in 1995 to 1262 g person d−1 in 2018 and remains constant in 2030 and he 2050. Compared to the five countries, the higher supply of vegetables is mainly due to the larger harvested area rather than the higher yield. However, harvested area is projected to decrease by 13.6% and 24.7% in 2030 and 2050, respectively. Instead, vegetable yields are projected to steadily increase by 11.8% and 28.3%, respectively, over this period. A high vegetable supply and preference for vegetables, indicated by a high vegetable-to-meat production ratio, is thought to increase the rate of vegetable loss and wastage, with recommended vegetable intakes cannot be guaranteed. Harvested area will decrease by 37.3% to 67.2% in the 2030 and 2050 waste reduction scenarios. This study shows that sustainable changes in China’s vegetable supply can be achieved by increasing yields and limiting vegetable loss and waste, rather than expanding harvested areas.