Bangkok, Thailand, 11 Nov 2013 -- FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Hiroyuki Konuma, today presented an award to Makiko Uemoto, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Division, Minister's Secretariat, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Government of Japan, for her submission of the name Mr Q, the official mascot of the Save Food Asia-Pacific campaign.
The campaign was launched in August, in collaboration with the Asian Institute of Technology and with the participation of Ministers of Agriculture and senior officials from 20 Asia-Pacific countries. The initiative and its activities aim to raise awareness about the high levels of post-harvest food losses and the growing problem of food waste in the region.
Save Food Asia-Pacific is appealing to consumers to reduce the amount of food they waste by instilling a greater respect for the value of food and the often complex and laborious processes required to deliver it to their table.
The name Mr Q was selected as the easiest name to remember and was conceptualized by Uemoto-san as a good nickname for the cucumber mascot. "Q sounds similar to the Japanese word 'kyuri,' which also means cucumber," she added.
While Mr Q is a happy fellow, his messages regarding post-harvest food loss and consumer food waste are serious. Presently, 14 percent of food is lost post-harvest due to mishandling and a further 15 percent is wasted by retailers and consumers.
FAO forecasts that by 2050, with a predicted global population of more than nine billion people (up from the present seven billion), food production will need to increase by at least 60 percent.
Despite the challenge, the world loses 1.3 billion tons of food per year. Nearly one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally.