The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and key partners are calling on companies and organizations worldwide to join in the “SAVE FOOD” initiative, a global effort designed to cut down on food losses and waste. Established in 2011, SAVE FOOD, the Global Initiative on Food Losses and Waste Reduction, aims to reduce the estimated 1.3 billion tons of food that is lost or wasted every year. Annual losses are valued at nearly US $1 trillion. The SAVE FOOD campaign currently has over 50 partners. FAO, together with Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, a trade fair organizer, and interpack, the trade fair for packaging and processes, are calling for new private sector partners as well as non-profit organizations involved throughout the food supply chain to join the effort, and contribute their expertise. New technologies, better practices, coordination, and investments in infrastructure – from food production to consumption - are critical to reducing food losses and waste.
900 million hungry people in the world and one trillion dollars at stake, joint
action in reducing losses can improve livelihoods, food security, and minimize
the environmental impact,” says Gavin Wall, director of FAO’s Rural
Infrastructure and Agro-Industries Division. One-third of the food produced in
the world for human consumption is thrown away or lost, as well as the natural
resources used for its production. Global food losses and waste in
industrialized countries amounts to roughly US $680 billion and US $310 billion
in developing countries.
food security by cutting food losses and waste is a challenge we all share and
will be a central theme discussed at the UN Rio+20 Conference on
Sustainable Development,” states Wall. “Even if just one-fourth
of the food currently being lost or wasted globally could be saved, it is
enough to feed 900 million hungry people in the world,” adds Robert van
Otterdijk, team leader of SAVE FOOD.
food losses occur at all stages of the food supply chain, the causes and their
impact around the world differ. In developing countries, food losses hit small
farmers the hardest. Almost 65% of those losses happen at the production, post
harvest, and processing stages. For example, an on-going project in The Gambia
adopting the One-Village-One-Product approach is helping farmers to reduce
their losses significantly. In industrialized countries, food waste often
occurs at the retail and consumer level due to a “throw-away” mindset. Per
capita waste by consumers is between 95 -115 kilograms a year in Europe and
North America, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa and South-Southeast Asia
throw away 6 -11 kilograms.