In a concerted effort to grapple with the worsening food loss and waste and ensure global food security, officials and experts from various countries including Pakistan and international organisations gathered at the International Conference on Food Loss and Waste (ICFLW) held at China’s eastern city of Jinan.
In a video speech to the conference, Dr Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said that FAO estimates that up to 14% of food produced globally undergoes food loss between the post-harvest and retail stages of the supply chain and that 17% of total global food production is expected to be wasted at the retail, foodservice and consumption stages.
“These high levels of food loss and waste, valued at 400 billion US dollars annually, could feed around 1.26 billion more people per year,” Dr Qu noted.
In the 70 speeches delivered at the conference, experts and officials have advocated sustainable production practices and suggested preventing food loss in the processes of harvest, storage, processing through mechanised and standardised operations, and new technologies.
While providing Pakistani experience of dealing with post-harvest food loss at the conference, Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, said that Pakistan has drawn on drying techniques and climate-smart storage technology to alleviate post-harvest food loss which is mainly caused by high moisture and insect pests.
Talking to the media, Ma Youxiang, Vice Minister of Chinese Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said that “reducing food loss and waste is a systematic and international effort as it not only involves production, harvest, logistics, storage, processing and sales, but it involves both domestic and international supply and consumption, industrial and supply chains.”
Realising the complexity of food loss and waste reduction, the participants have also expected to establish a mechanism to facilitate international cooperation and an international food loss and waste R&D platform to promote the innovation and experiment of relevant science and technology, CEN reported.
To pull global wisdom to tackle food loss and waste, the conference released the “Jinan Initiative on Food Loss and Waste”, setting out the key areas and cooperation directions to reduce food loss and waste including popularising the concept of food loss and waste reduction, improving infrastructure and adopting new technologies and promoting sustainable consumption patterns.
Themed “Reducing food loss and waste and promoting global food security” and co-hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, the National Development and Reform Commission of China, the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration of China and Shandong Provincial Government, the conference aims to build an international platform and unite the world to achieve the Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to halve global food waste at the retail and consumer levels, as well as to reduce food loss during production and supply.
More than 300 experts and officials from over 50 countries, international organisations, enterprises and NGOs participated in the conference.