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WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO REDUCE FOOD LOSS AND WASTE?

Globally, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail. Significant quantities are also wasted in retail and at the consumption level.

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. In addition, the disposal of food loss and waste in landfills, leads to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.

Actions are required globally and locally to maximize 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.

Key messages

  1. There is no room for food loss and waste in this time of crisis! The COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call to rethink the way in which we produce, handle and waste our food!
  2. Reducing food losses and waste provides a powerful means to strengthen our food systems.
  3. Innovation, technologies and infrastructure are critical to increasing the efficiency of food systems and to reducing food losses and waste.
  4. Public interventions should seek to facilitate investments in food losses and waste reduction by private actors especially at this critical time.
  5. 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.
  6. We should all be food savers: for the people, for the planet!

Did you know?

  • To monitor SDG Target 12.3, FAO has created the Food Loss Index (FLI). The focus of the indicator is on percentages of food removed from the supply chain. The FLI monitors changes in these percentages over time, relative to a base period currently set at 2015, in order to track progress against SDG Target 12.3.
  • FAO’s current work on measurement is critical to tracking progress on reducing food losses against the Global Food Loss Indicator, of 14 percent.
  • When reductions in food loss occur close to the farm, they are most effective in addressing food insecurity and in alleviating stress on land and water.
  • When reductions in food waste occur downstream in the supply chain and at the consumer level they are key to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The largest improvements in food security are likely to occur by reducing food losses in the early stages of the supply chain, especially on-farm and at harvest in countries with high levels of food insecurity.
  • Nutrient loss due to quantitative and qualitative food loss and waste may represent a missed opportunity to reduce malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.

www.fao.org

Authors

About İsmail Uğural

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