14% of food is lost right after harvest: FAO

ROME 19 October 2019: A new report launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), provides insights into how much food is lost – as well as where and why – at different stages of the food supply chain, calls for informed decisions for an effective reduction and offers new ways to measure progress.

This will not only help to achieve progress towards the important target of reducing food loss and waste, but could also contribute to a number of Sustainable Development Goals related to food security and environmental sustainability, the report states.

According to the State of Food and Agriculture 2019, globally around 14 percent of the world’s food is lost after harvesting and before reaching the retail level, including through on-farm activities, storage and transportation. However, the food losses vary considerably from one region to another within the same commodity groups and supply chain stages, said Wam.

The report highlights the need, and offers a new methodology, to measure carefully losses at each stage in the food supply chain. Doing so will help to identify critical loss points across the supply chain. These are points where food losses have the highest magnitude, the greatest impact on food security, and the largest economic dimensions, as well as to identify the appropriate measures for their reduction.

It also points to the importance of reducing food waste, which occurs at the retail and consumption level and is linked to limited shelf life and consumer behaviour, such as demanding food products that meet aesthetic standards, and limited incentive to avoid food waste.

“As we strive to make progress towards reducing food loss and waste, we can only be truly effective if our efforts are informed by a solid understanding of the problem,” said FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu in the foreword to the report. He questioned, “how we can allow food to be thrown away when more than 820 million people in the world continue to go hungry every day.”

FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu

The report urges countries to step up efforts to tackle the root causes of food loss and waste at all stages and provides guidance on policy and interventions to reduce food loss and waste.However, the report stresses that the policy measures aimed at reducing food loss and waste should be coherent and involve effective monitoring and evaluation of interventions to assure accountability of existing actions and efforts.

Dubai Gazette