Independent panel urges collective action on food waste

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FAO Logo

Accra, July 05, GNA – A new report released by the United Nations High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security has called for collective action on food waste.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), almost one-third of food produced for human consumption – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes per year – is either lost or wasted globally: their reduction is now presented as essential to improve food security and to reduce the environmental footprint of food systems.

The report dubbed “Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems”, which was made available on Friday to the Ghana News Agency by the FAO, provides a systematic analysis of the impacts of food losses and waste on the sustainability of food systems and on food security and nutrition.

The FAO report said the very extent of food losses and waste invites the world to consider the report not as an accident but as an integral part of food systems.

It observed that food losses and waste are consequences of the way food systems function, technically, culturally and how the world view food economically.

FAO report analyses food losses and waste in a triple perspective: a systemic perspective, a sustainability perspective, including the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability, and a food security and nutrition perspective, looking at how food losses and waste relate to the various dimensions of food security and nutrition.

According the main findings of the FAO report, food losses and waste had been approached by two different angles: either from a waste perspective, with the associated environmental concerns, or from a food perspective, with the associated food security concerns.

It said this duality of approaches had often led to confusions on the definition and scope of food losses and waste, contributing to unreliability and lack of clarity of data.

This report adopts a food security and nutrition lens and defines food losses and waste (FLW) as ‘a decrease, at all stages of the food chain from harvest to consumption, in mass, of food that was originally intended for human consumption, regardless of the cause’.

The independent panel of experts report takes a close look at where and how food waste occurs and recommends a number of actions that could help reduce the 1.3 billion tonnes of food that are squandered worldwide each year.

It recommends that states and international organizations better integrate food chains and food systems perspectives in any food security and nutrition strategy or action.

It said reduction of FLW should be systematically considered and assessed as a potential means to improve agricultural and food systems efficiency and sustainability towards improved food security and nutrition.

The report suggests that direct and indirect causes of FLW in a given system should be analysed to identify hot spots where it would be most efficient to act.

The UN Committee on World Food Security is the top international and intergovernmental platform for discussions and agenda-setting on issues related to global food security.

Its membership includes governments, UN agencies and other UN bodies, civil society and non-governmental organizations, research institutions, financial institutions and development banks, private sector associations and philanthropic foundations.


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