The world losses a substantial amount of food produced when millions of people go hungry. About 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail and a significant quantity is also wasted in retail and at the consumption level. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which is for the first time observing International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, noted that reducing food losses and waste was essential in a world where the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise.
Pointing out that the global COVID 19 pandemic has also awakened the need to transform and rebalance the way food was produced and consumed, the FAO said that tons and tons of edible food are lost and or wasted every day. “Food loss and waste also puts unnecessary pressure on the natural resource base and on the environment, depleting the natural resource base and generating greenhouse gases,” the FAO said.
The Organisation said that all resources used to produce food, including water, land, labour, energy, and capital goes waste when food was lost or wasted. Apart from this, the disposal of food waste in landfills also led to greenhouse gas emissions that added to climate change.
The FAO said tats steps are to be taken globally and locally to maximise the use of food that is produced. It said that introduction of technologies, innovative solutions (e-commerce platforms for marketing, retractable mobile food processing systems), new ways of working and good practices to manage food quality and reduce food loss and waste are keys to implementing a transformative change. The FAO also said that attention and actions of food producers, food supply chain stakeholders, food industries, retailers and consumers was needed for reducing food loss and waste.
KEY MESSAGE FROM FAO
- There is no room for food loss and waste in this time of crisis! The COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up callto rethink the way in which we produce, handle and waste our food!
- Reducing food losses and waste provides a powerful means tostrengthen our food systems.
- Innovation, technologies and infrastructure are critical to increasing the efficiency of food systemsand to reducing food losses and waste.
- Public interventionsshould seek to facilitate investments in food losses and waste reduction by private actors especially at this critical time.
- Innovative business models, with the participation of the private sector need to be shaped and new approaches are needed to finance them, to stop food loss and food waste.
- We should all be food savers: for the people, for the planet!