Food Loss and Waste: An Unacceptable Reality


When Credit Credit: Riccardo De Luca / FAO

  • by Mario Lubetkin (santiago)Friday, September 29, 2023
  • SANTIAGO, Sep 29 (IPS) – Mario Lubetkin is FAO Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Latin America and the CaribbeanIn recent years, the population of Latin America and the Caribbean has seen a worrying increase in hunger figures, especially among the poorest in the region.

Thus, where does this problem arise? A relevant factor in this matter is food loss and waste, which prevention is fundamental in the development of agri-food systems.

In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly first established 29 September as International Food Loss and Waste Awareness Day, recognizing the positive impact of reversing FLW can have on people’s food and nutrition security.

Four years after the declaration of this day, we must take stock of what we have achieved, look ahead and take immediate action to reverse a complex scenario with economic, social, environmental, and moral costs.

According to FAO figures, 13% of the world’s food is lost in the supply chain, from post-harvest to retail, and a further 17% is wasted in households, food services, and retail. The highest levels of losses occur in nutrient-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables (32%), meat, and fish (12.4%).

Inefficiencies along the food chain and in consumption also have a significantly impact on the environment. Therefore, preventing food loss and waste can help to combat hunger and the consequences of climate change through greenhouse gas emissions.

Current scientific evidence points to innovative solutions that support family farming, distribution and supply systems, drive circular bio-economy actions, and target investments and funding to develop monitoring and early warning systems to prevent FLWs, as well as comprehensive legal frameworks aimed at prevention. It Governments, businesses, civil society and academia must join forces, to generate evidence, investments in infrastructure and technology, and other measures to address this situation.

Much needs to be done. We We are all responsible for this challenge.

(c) Inter Press Service (2023) — All Rights Reserved

Original source: Inter Press Service

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