16 October 2013
Global food losses and waste: from reduction to prevention for a sustainable agro-food system
Event hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy
Ladies and gentlemen,
Vorrei cominciare ringraziando tutti per la loro presenza oggi alla FAO.
I would like to start by thanking the Government of Italy for the support for this event.
And thanks for hosting us in Rome, thanks for your commitment to food security, and thanks for the Ministries here present for joining us in this World Food Day.
Nothing more fitting than for Rome, one of the world´s most important gastronomic references, also to be the food security capital of the world.
But before going into food waste and loss in particular, let me say a few words on the 2013 World Food Day theme: Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.
There is a long and complex road between farm and consumers, involving many different steps and players.
They include producers, scientists, input suppliers, transporters, retailers and, of course, consumers.
How good are our food systems? Well, it depends on how we look at them.
We already produce enough food today to feed the entire population in the world. And, yet, over 840 million people are hungry.
Let´s look at it in another way, and this brings me to the topic of this meeting: over one-third of the food produced every year is lost or wasted.
Per capita consumer waste is around 100 kilograms in Europe and North America per year. In Africa, it is less than 10 kilograms a year per person.
And here is yet another way to look at this issue: reducing food loss and waste to zero would give us enough food to feed about 2 billion more people, without producing one extra kilogram, without any additional environmental impact.
That is the size of the challenge and the size of the opportunity.
That is why zeroing food loss and waste is one of the five elements of the Zero Hunger Challenge launched by the UN Secretary-General.
And that is why food loss and waste is an important component of FAO’s reviewed strategic framework.
The theme for World Food Day 2013 – “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition” is also an occasion to highlight the work that will be carried out by the “Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition”.
This is a new global initiative launched last June at the Nutrition for Growth event in London, and funded by the UK Department for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
I am pleased to be a member of this Global Panel, whose purpose is to help maximize the contribution of agriculture and food systems to improve nutrition and health outcomes, particularly of women and children.
World Food Week started Monday with a seminar here at FAO showing the link between our new strategic objective that aims to enable more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems at local, national and international levels and the FSCA – the Food Security through Commercialization of Agriculture Program.
This is a 50 million dollar program funded by the Government of Italy and part of the Global Trust Fund for Food Security.
It aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of food systems and, in doing so, ensure responsible and sustainable use of resources, generate higher incomes, create more decent rural employment, reduce food loss and waste, and overall food and nutrition security.
It is helping 34 countries in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean to improve market integration of small-scale producers and diminish food loss.
FAO is also involved with reducing food loss and waste through the Save Food Initiative.
This began as a partnership between FAO, UNEP, Messe Dusseldorf and Interpack and currently has the participation of about 150 public organizations and private companies worldwide.
FAO and UNEP also spearhead the THINK, EAT, SAVE advocacy campaign to reduce waste.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Producers, retailers and consumers; developing and developed world; society, governments and multilateral organizations; universities and research institutions.
All of us have a role to play to prevent food loss and waste. I am very happy to see all of you, all of us present here. It shows that we are not indifferent to this. And are ready to do our part.