News ID: 316751
Published: 1028 GMT September 30, 2021

FAO’s head calls on nations to lessen food losses

FAO’s head calls on nations to lessen food losses

Qu Dongyu, the director general of the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Wednesday urged nations to increase efforts to halve food waste by the end of this decade.

The FAO estimated that around 14 percent of the world’s total food production is lost between harvest and retail, costing $400 billion in food value each year.

In remarks to commemorate the second International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, FAO Director General Qu Dongyu said that more efficient, inclusive and sustainable agricultural and food systems will help to reduce world hunger and reduce strain on the environment.

“We need to accelerate progress in achieving the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) target 12.3 by 2030 to halve global food waste and reduce food losses along production and supply chains,” said Dongyu.

He pointed to the need to step-up global cooperation to transform food systems, from farm to fork, in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On ensuring sustainable production and consumption patterns, Goal 12 of SDGs includes a specific target to halve per capita global food waste by the end of the current decade, 2030.

Additionally, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Executive Director Inger Andersen, food loss and waste accounts for around a tenth of global greenhouse gas emissions, while using up precious land and water resources.

“Putting a serious dent in food loss and waste will slow climate change, protect nature, and increase food security at a time when we desperately need these things to happen,” Andersen said.

In an article published on September 16, Dongyu wrote we have to change our agri-food systems urgently and holistically. This transformation requires a systemic approach and our collective action — “Hand in Hand” by producers, distributors and consumers, together with governments, the private sector, academia and civil society.

That is what the coming United Nations Food Systems Summit is about, and what the FAO wants to achieve, together with all our partners, through the new FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031. The action of each and every one of us has an impact on the future of our planet through our agri-food systems.

“After decades of decline, the number of hungry people has been growing for the past five years, now amounting to as many as 811 million people. At the same time, obesity and other non-communicable diseases are ever-growing global problems associated with insufficiently diversified healthy diets and consumption patterns,” he noted.

The FAO head wrote: “Transforming our global agri-food systems rests ultimately with actions at the country and local levels. Culture is an important aspect. One needs only to look at cuisines to see how diverse agri-food systems are across and within countries. More than half of us — around 4.5 billion people — earn our livelihoods directly through the agri-food production chain, supply chain and value chain. And we are all consumers of foods, and game-changers”.

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