Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu

International Conference on Food Loss and Waste

(Jinan City, Shandong Province) 

Video Statement


Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

9-11 September 2021

Distinguished participants,

1.         I am pleased to address you on this important topic.

2.         Food loss and waste occur across the supply chain from tillage to table

3.         FAO estimates that between the post-harvest and retail stages of the supply chain, up to 14% of food produced globally undergoes food loss.

4.         Furthermore, 17% of total global food production may be wasted at the retail, food-service and consumer stages.

5.         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.

6.         They are happening against a backdrop of severe global challenges in terms of food insecurity and malnutrition.

7.         Up to 811 million people in the world are undernourished, while 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet.

8.         As a Chinese proverb says, “A single grain of rice comes with a thousand drops of sweat”.  Food loss and waste make up a waste of our scarce resources, while also contributing to the climate crisis impacts through Greenhouse Gas emissions.

9.         In addition, it also confirms poorly functioning agri-food systems, as millions of people around the world have experienced first-hand during the COVID-19 crisis.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

10.       The UN Secretary-General will convene the UN Food Systems Summit during the UN General Assembly later this month, which will catalyze agri-food systems transformation

11.       In finding solutions, we need to be open to new ideas, each one tailored to the specific context.

12.       Innovations in business models, institutional arrangements, technologies and digital solutions such as Artificial Intelligence can ALL contribute to reducing food loss and waste.

13.       FAO is the custodian agency for the Food Loss Index, which is one of the indicators of SDG target 12.3.

14.       We are working, together with our partners, to know as accurately as possible how much food is lost and wasted, as well as where and why.

15.       This really matters and can make a difference.

16.       We must get all the players on board to work collaboratively and in a coordinated manner towards reducing food loss and waste.

17.       This includes the public and private sectors together with academia, international organizations, financial institutions, producers, consumers and civil society.

18.       Through the Technical Platform on Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste, we can facilitate the adoption of good practices.

19.       FAO is looking forward to working with our Members, including China, in disseminating knowledge, enhancing dialogue and exchanging expertise across countries, regions and continents through North-South, South-South and Triangular cooperation.

20.       Food loss and waste reduction are some of the priority areas of the Food Coalition.

21.       Proposed by the Government of Italy and led by FAO, the Food Coalition is another significant platform to mobilize political commitment, financial support and technical expertise for food loss and waste reduction.

22.       The UN General Assembly designated 29 September as the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, providing an opportunity to reflect on our actions, while promoting agri-food systems transformation and the achievement of the SDGs.

23.       In June 2021, FAO’s Ministerial Meeting endorsed the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Food Loss and Waste Reduction.

24.       This code of conduct recommends actions, principles and standards to effectively reduce food loss and waste, while promoting MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems, leaving no one behind.

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

25.       In conclusion, I wish to summarize with three key messages:

26.       First, we cannot end hunger and all forms of malnutrition if we do not address the high levels of food loss and waste.

27.       Second, we must be informed by a solid, scientific and evidence-based understanding of the root causes of food loss and waste. We can produce more with less, without a negative impact on the environment.

28.       And Third, commitment, collaboration, partnerships and increased support from all stakeholders are crucial.

29.       FAO is committed to working together to promote more ambitious collective actions to address the problem of food loss and waste in support of achieving the 2030 Agenda and ensure better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.

30.       Thank you.