On September 29th, the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction brings the global community together to focus on the critical issue of food loss and waste and to advocate for measures to mitigate it. Food loss and waste represent a significant global challenge. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted annually. This staggering figure amounts to around 1.3 billion tonnes of food, with an estimated value of approximately US$1 trillion. Addressing this issue is crucial not only for reducing hunger but also for promoting sustainable agriculture and responsible consumption patterns.
International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Theme 2023
The theme for the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction in 2023 is “Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Taking Action to Transform Food Systems”. This theme underscores the urgent need to address the issue of food loss and waste, particularly in a world where hunger has been on the rise since 2014 and large quantities of edible food are lost or wasted every day.
Globally, approximately 13 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 17 percent of total global food production is wasted in households, the food service industry, and retail. The International Day serves as an opportunity to mobilize both the public and the private sector to prioritize action and innovate in order to reduce food loss and waste. The goal is to work towards the restoration and improvement of food systems that are resilient and ready to address the challenges of the future.
History of International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction
The International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2019, in recognition of the importance of reducing food loss and waste in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The day is celebrated annually on September 29th.
Food loss and waste is a major global problem. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted each year. This amounts to approximately 1.3 billion tons of food per year.
Reducing food loss and waste is also a target within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Target 12.3. It calls for halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels, as well as reducing food losses along production and supply chains.
Significance of the Day – Why is it important to reduce food loss and waste?
Food loss and waste have significant repercussions on the sustainability of our food systems. When food is lost or wasted, it represents a squandering of all the resources that were utilized in its production, including water, land, energy, labor, and capital. Furthermore, the disposal of food loss and waste in landfills contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating climate change. This issue also has adverse effects on food security, food availability, and the cost of food.
To ensure the resilience of our food systems, sustainability must be a primary focus. This involves addressing food loss and waste through integrated approaches. Global and local actions are essential to maximize the utilization of the food we produce. This includes introducing technologies, and innovative solutions (such as e-commerce platforms for marketing and mobile food processing systems), adopting new practices to manage food quality, and reducing food loss and waste.
With just seven years remaining to achieve targets 1, 2, and 3 of Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG), there is a pressing need to accelerate efforts to reduce food loss and waste. This necessitates collaborative action at all levels to create a more sustainable and efficient food system.
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