2014-10-25 18:01:00

Three UN agencies launch joint online campaign targeting elimination of food waste ‎

Three United Nations food agencies on Friday launched a digital campaign to tackle the problem of ‎global food waste saying wasted food can feed an estimated two billion people.  The new online ‎programme, called the Global Community of Practice (CoP) on Food Loss Reduction, was jointly ‎launched by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for ‎Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), with the goal of becoming ‎‎“a global reference point” in the facilitation of information sharing between stakeholders such as public ‎entities, civil society and the private sector.  As a result, it will also permit stakeholders to tap into ‎relevant news and events and access links to online libraries and databases as well as social networks ‎and online trainings.  In a press release marking the inauguration of the project, FAO Deputy-Director ‎General for Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo, stressed that with more than 800 million people ‎in the world still suffering from hunger, saving food was of paramount of importance.  “When food is ‎saved, the resources used to produce it are saved. Reducing waste and losses by not creating these in ‎the first place should be a priority for all,” said Ms. Semedo.  On the occasion of World Environment ‎Day last year, June 5, Pope Francis had hit out against food wastage saying “Throwing away food is ‎like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry.”‎
According to UN estimates, roughly 30 percent of global food production, that is 40-50 percent of root ‎crops, fruits and vegetables, 20 percent of oilseeds, meat and dairy products and 35 per cent of fish, is ‎either lost or wasted, amounting to some 1.3 billion tonnes – or enough food to feed 2 billion people.  ‎
Amid the wastefulness, global efforts to reduce the “unacceptably high” rates of food loss must also be ‎holistic, IFAD Vice-President Michel Mordasini added, pointing to the role of smallholder farmers who, ‎he said, were “most vulnerable.” For its part, the WFP’s Post-Harvest Loss Reduction initiative ‎currently reaches 16,000 smallholder farm families in Uganda, with the aim of reducing post-harvest ‎losses by 70 percent amongst participating smallholder farmers.‎


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