Expert Consultation Meeting on Food Losses and Waste Reduction in the Near East Region
FAO Regional- Meeting - From 18 to 19 December 2012 - Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
In line with FAO commitment, the 2012 FAO regional conference for the Near East Region (NERC), highlighted the importance of assisting member countries to address the key challenges related to food losses and waste and developing a plan to reduce them by 50% within ten years in the Near East Region.
To follow up on recommendations and fully acknowledging the importance of sharing knowledge about the problem and its impact on food and nutrition security, the FAO Office for Near East organized a Regional Expert Consultation to develop a regional workplan on food losses and waste reduction and to mainstream them in major food security policies and strategies in the region.
Decision makers, sectoral experts and different key stakeholders across the region actively participated in this consultation, which is the first of its kind in the region, to gather together policy actors and key stakeholders dealing with the problem of food losses and waste.
Due to several limitations the Near East and North Africa Region does not produce enough food and, at the same time, it loses and wastes significant amounts of food throughout the supply chain, from initial production down to final household consumption. This results in high and growing dependence on food imports, and a major food insecurity problem.
The region wastes more than 16 million tons of wheat every year worth more than $6 billons. Food losses and waste in the region are generally estimated at 15-20% in cereals and grains, up to 30% in meats and dairy products, up to 40% in fish products and up to 50% in fruits and vegetables, amounting to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has long recognized the importance of concerted action on food losses and waste reduction as a strategic mean to improve food and nutrition security and food safety and quality, and has been committed through the last forty years to assist developing countries in the reduction of food losses at national level through ad hoc projects and programs.