World News‎ > ‎

Curb food waste, feed one billion people, UN

posted 23 Jan 2013, 04:59 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 23 Jan 2013, 05:00 ]

If only a quarter of the food that is now being wasted or lost was to be saved, that alone would be enough to feed the almost one billion people around the world who go hungry daily, a UN food expert says.

 NAIROBIKENYA  (REUTERS) -  If only a quarter of the food that is now being wasted or lost was to be saved, that alone, would be enough to feed the almost one billion people around the world who go hungry daily, an expert from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) says.

On Tuesday (January 22) the UN launched a campaign to cut an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted or lost each year. About one-third of all food produced globally, worth around 1 trillion US dollars, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems, according to FAO.

The campaign dubbed 'Think, Eat, Save. Reduce Your Foodprint' seeks to eliminate wasteful practices and help countries share successful initiatives targeting food wasted by consumers, retailers and the hospitality industry.

Experts say worldwide, about one third of food gets lost or wasted each year.

"In industrialized countries about half of this quantity, half of the one third is the result of food wasted by consumers and retailers. While in developing countries the food waste is less than five per cent, so 95 percent is food loss," said Robert van Otterdijk, an Agro-Industry specialist and Team Leader of the Save Food initiative at FAO.

Van Otterdijk said the problem is divided between food loss, where food is lost during production and distribution -- mostly unintended, and food waste which is when food arrives at the retailers and consumers but is thrown out for whatever reason.

In developing countries he says unintentional losses at early stages of the food supply chain are a result of limitations in harvesting techniques, storage, packaging and marketing systems.

However, in the developed world, food waste happens mostly because consumers buy or prepare more food than they need and end up throwing it away or due to inappropriate storage.

"We clearly see that in the high income, countries or the industrialized countries. The quantities of food waste are very high while they are minimal in developing countries. So there is a clear relation between wealth and peoples' income and throwing away good food," said Van Otterdijk.

"If only a quarter of the food that currently is lost or wasted can be saved it would be enough to feed the 879 million people who are hungry in the world at this moment," he added.

Tips to cut both waste and loss are available on the website.

The UN warned last year that the world could face a food crisis in 2013 blaming the drought in the United States, a leading world producer of corn, wheat and soybeans.


Comments