The state of food and agriculture 2019: Food loss and waste is a global issue
This SOFA report (PDF) by FAO acknowledges the need to reduce food loss and waste, presents new insights on what is known and what is not, and provides guidance on how to target interventions and policies depending on policymakers’ objectives and the information available. When striving to make progress towards reducing food loss and waste, three dimensions need to be considered. The first; more insight is needed on how much food is lost and wasted, and where and why. The report shows that losses and waste tend to be higher for some specific commodity groups, although they can occur at all stages of the food supply chain to different degrees. However, there is a vast range in terms of percentages of food loss and waste for the same commodities and the same stages in the supply chain both within and across countries. Secondly, it needs to be clear about our underlying reasons or objectives for reducing food loss and waste. These might differ between private and public sector. This calls of public interventions in the form of investments or policies that create incentives for private actors to reduce food loss and waste or remove the barriers that prevent them from doing so. Thirdly, understanding needs to come on how food loss and waste, as well as the measures to reduce it, affect the objectives being pursued. A key argument in this report is that the linkages between food loss and waste, on the one hand, and food security and environmental impacts, on the other, are complex and need to be thoroughly understood. When considering actions and policy options, the report argues that food loss and waste reduction should be seen as a way to achieve other objectives. The report also offers a comprehensive analysis of the critical loss points in specific supply chains, thus providing examples on appropriate measures for an effective reduction.