08 October 2020, Ankara, Turkey – The topic of food loss and waste has received broad coverage in recent years, but the subject is now reaching an even wider audience due to the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in food loss and waste, with high levels of losses occurring in perishable agricultural produce and products along the supply chain, due to restrictions on movement.
Some 690 million people today are hungry and 3 billion cannot afford a healthy diet. Hunger has been on the rise since 2014, and the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the food and nutrition security of up to an additional 132 million people.
In the light of these developments, the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste underlines the need to rethink how we produce, consume and waste our food.
The slogan “Stop food loss and waste. For the people. For the planet” highlighted the increase in food insecurity and diminishing natural resources, and urged everyone to do more to reduce food loss and waste.
A regional initiative aiming to reduce food loss and waste in Turkey and Central Asia continues at full speed
The global was launched on 29 September at FAO headquarters with a high-level digital event. The Directors-General of FAO and UNEP delivered keynote addresses, which were followed by panel discussions on food loss and waste and sustainability, and innovation.
Speaking at the first panel discussion, Bekir Pakdemirli, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey, outlined Turkey’s national and regional efforts to reduce food loss and waste as follows:
“We kicked off a regional initiative to reduce food loss and waste in Turkey and Central Asia through the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture. Moreover, in last May, we launched a national “SAVE YOUR FOOD” campaign and released the “National Strategy and Action Plan on the Prevention and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste” in Turkey, developed in collaboration with FAO. We aim to continue our efforts to reduce food loss and waste through raising public awareness and disseminating good practices at both national and regional level.”
In Turkey, FAO celebrated the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste through a dedicated digital platform with several stakeholders, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate for EU Affairs, the US Embassy, the UK Embassy, the UNRC Office, the UN Information Center, UNDP Turkey, UNV Turkey, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, the Union of Municipalities of Turkey, the Agricultural Credit Cooperatives of Turkey, Impact Hub Istanbul, Corporate Social Responsibility Turkey, IDEMA, Ülker, Yıldız Holding, Migros, the Food Rescue Association, Mikado Consulting, the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), the Basic Needs Association, the Business Council for Sustainable Development Turkey, the Kök Projekt and EKO IQ Magazine.
The digital celebrations reached more than 17 million users, eliciting broad discussion on the topic and generating feedback from across the country.