Daily Trust (Abuja)

22 January 2013

Nigeria: New Campaign to Cut U.S.$1 Trillion Food Waste

An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted every year, and simple actions by consumers and food retailers can cut the loss and wastage, according to the United Nations.

The UN, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and its partners have launched a new global campaign to cut food waste and loss.

The Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint campaign specifically targets food wasted by consumers, retailers and the hospitality industry.

"In a world of seven billion people, set to grow to nine billion by 2050, wasting food makes no sense - economically, environmentally and ethically," said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

The campaign supports the SAVE FOOD Initiative to reduce food loss and waste along the entire chain of food production and consumption - run by the FAO and trade fair organizer Messe Düsseldorf - and the UN Secretary General's Zero Hunger Initiatives, said a statement from the UN.

The campaign also aims to build an information-sharing portal for diverse initiatives around the world hoping to cut food losses and waste.

Trillion-dollar losses

A third of all food produced around the world--estimated at over $1 trillion--is lost or wasted in production and consumption systems, indicate data from FAO.

Loss occurs in harvest, processing and distribution, while waste typically takes place at retail and consumption end of the food supply chain.

"Aside from the cost implications, all the land, water, fertilizers and labour needed to grow that food is wasted - not to mention the generation of greenhouse gas emissions produced by food decomposing on landfill and the transport of food that is ultimately thrown away," Steiner said.

"To bring about the vision of a truly sustainable world, we need a transformation in the way we produce and consume our natural resources."

"Together, we can reverse this unacceptable trend and improve lives. In industrialized 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," said José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General.

"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."

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