Food loss and waste must be reduced for greater food security and environmental sustainability

Rome/Nairobi/New York, Oct 2: At the global event marking today the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and their partners urged everyone to do more to reduce food loss and waste or risk an even greater drop in food security and natural resources.

  • UNEP will publish new country-level food waste estimates at retail, food service, and household level in its Food Waste Index report, early in 2021, and a common methodology for food waste measurement at the national level on World Food Day, October 16th, 2020.
  • Studies commissioned by FAO before the pandemic estimate that on-farm losses in sub-Saharan Africa for fruits and vegetables are up to 50 percent, the highest in the world. For cereals and pulses, the on-farm losses are up to 18 percent, equal highest in the world with parts of Asia.
  • Reducing food loss early in the supply chain — on the farm — in countries with high levels of food insecurity is likely to yield the strongest positive result for greater food security.
  • Many countries deal with the growing demand for food by increasing agricultural production without reducing food loss and waste, and, thereby, exacerbating pressure on the environment and increasingly scarce natural resources.

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