The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has appealed to policymakers to concentrate on the reduction of food loss and waste in order to help people gain access to nutritious food.
The Director-General of FAO, General José Graziano da Silva, has stated that to tackle all forms of malnutrition and promote healthy diets, there is a need to institute a food system that increases the availability, affordability, and consumption of fresh, nutrient-rich food for everyone.
While discussing a policy brief launched by FAO themed; ‘Preventing nutrient loss and waste more detrimental to the human health than measles, tuberculosis and malaria’, the DG reiterated taking specific actions to reduce the waste of fresh and nutritious food.
The brief which was developed by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition in collaboration with FAO, was presented at the FAO HQ on November 7, 2018.
The FAO policy document suggests a reduction in food loss and waste, particularly in high nutrient foods, has the potential to yield substantial nutritional benefits, boost innovation, contribute to both achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals and the advancement of the Decade of Action on Nutrition.
According to a Global Panel member, also the President of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Prof. K Srinath Reddy said, “The Global Panel’s policy actions show how reducing food loss and waste could play a key role in improving the poor and inadequate diets that affect three billion people globally, and which are often responsible for persistent under-nutrition, and the rise of overweight and obesity and the associated increase in non-communicable diseases.”
According to a study, the global volume of food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tonnes of primary product equivalents while total food wastage for the edible food approximately 1.3 billion tonnes.
As indicated by the FAO data, developing countries suffer more food losses during agricultural production, while in middle- and high-income regions, food waste at the retail and consumer level tends to be higher.
The direct economic consequences of food wastage excluding fish and seafood run to the tune of $750 billion annually.