SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

Azerbaijan, Central Asia, and Turkey explore new solutions to food loss and waste

29 Sep 2021

Ankara, Turkey – On the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, FAO, Turkey’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Regional Coordination Centre for Food Security of the Economic Cooperation Organization held a conference to reflect on existing challenges pertaining to food loss and waste in Azerbaijan, Central Asia, and Turkey and to take stock of actions urgently needed to reduce food loss and waste.

The conference urged national governments in the subregion to support necessary policy changes and adopt adequate regulatory mechanisms to create a conducive environment for other partners to act for the reduction of food loss and waste.

“Policymakers shall create an enabling framework, including policy and regulatory mechanisms that incentivize other players to take concrete actions to reduce food loss and waste,” said Viorel Gutu, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Central Asia and FAO Representative in Turkey, in his opening speech.

Gutu’s statement was seconded by Ahmet Volkan Gungoren, Regional Programme Coordinator for the Regional Coordination Centre: “Reduction of food loss and waste is a key topic for policy design and interventions, and a joint response is required to address this challenge.”

By showcasing best practices and success stories, the conference also aimed to inspire multi-disciplinary, solution-driven collaboration among public, private, and civil society actors within and between countries. Realizing and enhancing the positive impacts of reducing food loss and waste requires good governance and all players working together in a coherent way.

Representatives of FAO and the Ministry shared recent developments in the area of food loss and waste reduction in the subregion, including implementation of the key elements of the Turkish National Strategy and Action Plan for Food Loss and Waste Prevention and Reduction and country-specific analysis of causes and impacts of food loss and waste in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Aylin Caglayan Ozcan, General Director for the EU and Foreign Relations at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey, highlighted that Turkey is willing to share their experience and learn from other countries to reduce food loss and waste.

The invited speakers from different sectors presented inspiring cases and innovative and technological solutions, ranging from legal advancement facilitating food donations and date labelling improvement to nanoengineered food packaging and a technology-based platform for surplus food management.

The conference was organised as part of the project Reduction of Food Loss and Waste in Azerbaijan, Central Asia, and Turkey, funded by the Government of Turkey within the framework of the FAO–Turkey Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture. The project supports Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in developing and implementing national strategies and action plans to reduce food loss and waste, by incorporating policy and technical aspects, and targeting all subsectors of the food system from farmers to consumers. In addition, the project seeks to promote a subregional dialogue, mobilize actors both public and private, and facilitate action to tackle food loss and waste.