Bureau régionales de la FAO pour le Proche-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord

FAO Facilitates Training for 2,000 Stakeholders on Capacity Building for Food Loss Reduction in the Near East

Inefficient storage is one of the main factors of food loss.

Cairo, Egypt, July 24, 2017 – Reducing high food losses and waste is critical to improving food availability, achieving food security, and reducing stress on natural resources in the fast-growing Near East and North Africa (NENA) region. The region relies on imports to meet over 50 percent of its food needs, yet it loses up to a third of the food it produces and imports, including about 14-19 percent of its grains, 26 percent of all fish and seafood, 13 percent of its meat, and 45 percent of all fruits and vegetables.

In light of this alarming challenge, FAO had launched in 2014 the regional program  “Capacity Building for Food Loss Reduction in the Near East” to implement training and awareness-raising activities to strengthen the national capacity of local leaders of producer associations, food industry managers, and extension personnel on good practice in food handling and improved value chain management.

To celebrate the project’s success, FAO has hosted a closing workshop today to present and reflect the main results achieved in each participating country as well as to develop recommendations and a way forward with food loss waste (FLW) reduction activities in the region. The workshop also aims at identifying priority actions to promote the competitiveness and efficiency of the agricultural sector in developing countries and better utilization of scarce productive resources such as water and land.

The project was implemented in several countries focusing on different food sub-sectors for training and awareness-raising activities. Egypt focused on wheat, Jordan on vegetables, Iran on meat, and Lebanon on apples. All countries worked on improving postharvest handling to strengthen food security, decrease FLW, alleviate poverty, improve health and food safety, and preserve the natural environment. The countries provided intensive training workshops to around 100 trainees, whom in turn trained more than 2,000 members of their associations or institutions.

“The reduction of food losses and waste goes beyond the mere moral imperative to avoid wasting food which could well feed millions of families that go hungry to bed day after day. It also plays a crucial role in achieving underlying objectives related to the development of the countries in the region, such as increasing food security, improving food safety, reducing wasted resources, and increasing profits along the entire food value chain,” said Jozimo Santos Rocha, FAO Agro-Industry Officer.

This project falls under the Regional Strategic Framework for FLW Reduction in the Near East and North Africa Region that was requested and endorsed by FAO’s member countries in 2014. The framework aims at improving the efficiency of food systems, making better use of natural resources, and increasing the agriculture sector’s contribution to economic growth and stability.

This is in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 of zero hunger where the project and the regional strategy are working to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. More specifically, SDG 12 sets target 12.3 to reduce food waste by half and reduce losses all along food value chains.