Resources Research

Making local sense of food, urban growth, population and energy

Valuing the food we lose and throw away

with 4 comments

Worldwide, about one-third of all food produced, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems, according to data released by FAO. Food loss occurs mostly at the production stages – harvesting, processing and distribution – while food waste typically takes place at the retailer and consumer end of the food-supply chain. Graphic: from FAO images

Worldwide, about one-third of all food produced, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems, according to data released by FAO. Food loss occurs mostly at the production stages – harvesting, processing and distribution – while food waste typically takes place at the retailer and consumer end of the food-supply chain. Graphic: from FAO images

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has begun a campaign to encourage simple actions by consumers and food retailers to cut the 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted every year.

“In industrialised regions, almost half of the total food squandered, around 300 million tonnes annually, occurs because producers, retailers and consumers discard food that is still fit for consumption,” the Director-General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva, said. “This is more than the total net food production of Sub-Saharan Africa, and would be sufficient to feed the estimated 870 million people hungry in the world.”

Indeed this is the point. The industrialised agriculture and the attendant food retail and sales system is responsible – directly – for encouraging such consumer behaviour. If the FAO and UNEP are determined to follow the logic of their campaign, they must stop encouraging less industrialised countries to adopt the same systems of food production and sale.

They must also stop encouraging the genetically-modified crop industry from claiming that it is only GM seed that can feed growing populations. The answers to current hunger lie not in the ver greater use of technology and industry but in being far more responsible with growing food organically, eating it locally, using the small wastes in local nutrient cycles such as composting, and educating food consumers about how to do their bit.

The FAO head, da Silva, had added that the campaign can “help food producers to reduce losses through better harvesting, processing, storage, transport and marketing methods…” which is rather retrograde. It is the ‘betterness’ of harvesting, processing, storage, transport and marketing that has contributed greatly to this situation that the FAO and UNEP find intolerable.

The campaign itself has a wide variety of facts and advice and is well worth following.

Written by makanaka

January 22, 2013 at 20:48

4 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on Green Fish Blue Fish and commented:
    I really like this blog post by makanaka… As the global population grows, issues like food wastage have become increasingly crucial. This post shows just how much we waste. It is astonishing really! 45% of all fruits and veges are wasted.. and I’d believe too. 30% of fish.. I believe this too…

    Who are the worst culprits… us. The West. With our picky eating habits – our need for fully processed vegetables, and white blemish free boneless fish. All I can say here is mea culpa! I am definately one of these wasterful eaters… But I am going to change this…. I am!

    greenfishbluefish

    January 31, 2013 at 04:02

  2. A wonderful post. I liked it so much I reblogged it ^^ Thank you!

    greenfishbluefish

    January 31, 2013 at 04:04

  3. […] More from Pablo Mayer: tuscany ROMA Costa Amalfitana diseño Sort Share makanaka.wordpress.com       1 minute […]

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    March 3, 2013 at 04:10

  4. […] The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has begun a campaign to encourage simple actions by consumers and food retailers to cut the 1.3 bill…  […]


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