FAO advocates reduction of food losses, waste during pandemic

*Food loss and waste puts unnecessary pressure on natural resources, environment, and generates greenhouse gases

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As the United Nations (UN) agency prepares to observe the first ever International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste September 29, 2020, amid the outbreak of the global novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) says the event has brought about a worldwide wake-up on the need to transform and rebalance the way our food is produced and consumed.

According to the FAO in a message on its Web site, “reducing food losses and waste is essential in a world where the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise since 2014, and tons and tons of edible food are lost and/or wasted every day.”

The organisation noted that 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.

Photo: Iberdrola

In connection with the significance of reducing food loss and waste during the ravaging pandemic disrupting several economies across the world, the global body said earth wide, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail.

Significant quantities are also wasted in retail and at the consumption level.

It further observed that when food is loss or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce this food, including water, land, energy, labour and capital, go to waste.

Besides, FAO said the disposal of food loss and waste in landfills lead to greenhouse gas emissions, while contributing to climate change problem.

It urged all stakeholders to be proactive, saying, “actions are required globally and locally to maximise the use of the food we produce.

“The introduction of technologies, innovative solutions (including 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 key to implementing this transformative change.”

Reducing food loss and waste requires the attention and actions of all, from food producers, to food supply chain stakeholders, to food industries, retailers and consumers, it noted.

While emphasising that there is no room for food loss and waste in this time of the disruptive global virus crisis and its attendant socio-economic and health challenges, the organisation stated that “COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call to rethink the way in which we produce, handle and waste our food!”

It advocated that public interventions should 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.

It also noted that post-harvest losses could decrease food availability and reduce incomes of small holders.

The UN agency stressed that many countries deal with the growing demand for food by increasing agricultural production, without a focus on reducing food loss and waste, thereby exacerbating pressure on an increasingly scarce natural resource base.

“We should all be food savers: for the people, for the planet!” added FAO.

Kindly Share This Story