A REGIONAL multi-stakeholder consultation on food loss and food waste, convened by FAO, has drawn participants from 21 Asia-Pacific countries.
The met with development partners, civil society organisations, research and academic institutes, United Nations agencies and influential organisations such as World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the EU. They shared experiences and discussed a way forward to accelerate concrete and practical actions in reducing food loss and waste in the region.
While figures vary country to country in Asia, up to half of fruits and vegetables are lost between farm and market, while up to 30 per cent of grains are lost between harvest and market.
“With nearly 800 million hungry people in the world, and nearly two-thirds of them in our own region, food losses and food waste are intolerable,” Hiroyuki Konuma, assistant director-general and regional representative of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, said yesterday.
“It’s up to each one of us to take the matter seriously, from farms and industries improving their post-harvest handling of food, to consumers thinking more carefully before consuming food.
“If everyone does their part we can dramatically reduce the amount of food lost or wasted,” he said.
“It’s time to move from advocacy to action.” FAO estimates that 1.3 billion tonnes of food worth more than US$1 trillion (Bt33.9 trillion) are lost or wasted worldwide each year.
The hidden costs are even greater, with a waste of energy, labour and natural resources – including vast amounts of water – needed to produce the food that never makes it to the mouths of consumers.
“FAO is committed to working together with more countries and partners in the Asia-Pacific region to reduce food loss and food waste,” he said.
“This forum shows the commitment of member countries in reducing food loss and food waste, something that is in all our interests.”