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UN calls for innovative thinking to reduce food waste

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The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has called for innovative thinking in an effort to measure and cut global food loss and food waste.

FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva said that cutting global food wastage is key in the battle to eliminate hunger as an estimated 1.3b tonnes, or one third of food produced for human consumption is wasted - costing up to $750b annually.

“If we reduce food loss and waste to zero it would give us additional food to feed 2 billion people,” said Graziano da Silva at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) in Copenhagen yesterday.

“One of my priorities in FAO is opening our doors to potential allies. Fighting food loss and waste is clearly one area in which partnership is needed. Developing a global protocol can help provide clear measurements and indicators on which we can base guidance on how to reduce food loss and waste.”

The FAO states that the majority of food waste occurs during post-production, harvesting, transportation and storage. Food waste and is mainly related to poor infrastructure in developing nations while in developed nations, the problem lies within the marketing and consumption stages.

“We already know a lot about how to cut food losses,” he said. “But we need to invest more in a number of areas, especially in infrastructure such as roads and cold chains, but also improving market information. We also need to close the gap between the knowledge we have and what farmers and other actors in the food chain are actually doing.”

Graziano da Silva stating that innovative thinking from industry is key to encouraging retailers and individual households from throwing out/ wasting food.

In addition to paving the way to ending world hunger, the UN also sights food waste as the third largest carbon emitter.

The FAO released a report last month which provided a comprehensive global account of the environmental impact that food wastage creates along the supply chain with a focus on the impacts on climate, water, land and biodiversity.

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