FAO in Dusseldorf: collaborate to solve global food crisis

Increased collaboration could be key to offering a valuable solution to the escalating problem of food waste

Ren Wang, assistant director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), says collaboration must extend beyond governments into every sector of industry.

Speaking at the FAO’s second annual Save Food conference in Dusseldorf in May, Wang stressed that public and governmental organisations cannot solve the problem on their own. Instead, he said, they must strive to create an environment in which the private sector, and the food production industry can step up their collaboration and action. “Only the [people] who produce food can reduce food losses at any significant scale,” he stressed.

FAO statistics indicate that while there are 842m people worldwide suffering from chronic hunger, around 1.3 bn tonnes of food is lost or wasted every year. The FAO estimates that food produced yet never consumed could feed 2bn people. To feed a global population of 9bn by 2050, a projected 60% increase in food availability must be made. Halving the current level of food loss could have a dramatic impact, it maintains.

The FAO makes a distinction between food loss, which occurs during production – in harvesting, transportation and storage, and food waste, which occurs at retail and consumption. In the most recent Americas edition of Foodservice Consultant magazine, Jim Banks explores the different and innovative ways the foodservice sector is facing up to the challenge of food waste. He spoke to John Turenne FCSI about how to focus more adequately on saving waste at the source rather than concentrating on waste disposal. “Just 25% of what we waste in food in Europe and the US could feed the world’s malnourished because a lot of it comes from overproduction,” he says. “To achieve this we need to buy better, plan better and forecast the correct amount of food we need to prepare.”

Ellie Clayton


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