Transform food systems to avert $400 billion annually in loss and waste: UN

UNITED NATIONS. KAZINFORM - That half-eaten apple tossed in the trash bin after lunch is contributing to the staggering mountain of food wasted globally, at a time when more than 800 million people still go to bed hungry, UN agencies said on Wednesday, marking the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, on 29th September, WAM reports.

Not only is preventing food loss and waste crucial for the world’s people, it is also essential for the future of the planet, they stressed in remarks to an online commemorative event.

«We cannot continue to lose 14 percent of food produced globally and to waste 17 percent of total food in households, retailers, restaurants and other food services. This amounts to a loss of $400 billion a year in food value,» said Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

In his video message, Mr. Qu spoke of the need to step-up global cooperation to transform food systems, from farm to fork, in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Goal 12, on ensuring sustainable production and consumption patterns, includes a specific target to halve per capita global food waste by 2030.

Our food systems and consumption practices, which use up precious water and land resources, are major contributors to the triple crises afflicting the planet: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

She listed some of the multiple benefits of reducing the «heavy» burden of food waste and loss The event marking the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, was held one week after the UN Food Systems Summit and shortly after countries took stock of progress towards meeting the SDG 12 target.

Achieving it by the 2030 deadline will require collective action, and rapidly, said Gilbert Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

He outlined priorities for Governments and the private sector, such as integrating food loss reduction into national agricultural policies and development plans, and improving access of smallholder farmers to rural financial services.

«This International Day is one way for us all to come together to promote interventions that reduce food loss and contribute to achieving more sustainable food systems. Together, we can scale up solutions for reducing food loss,» said Mr. Houngbo.

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