A new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation has quantified global food wastage — nearly one-third of the food that is produced each year goes uneaten, costing the global economy over $940 billion.
The uneaten food is responsible for emitting about 8 per cent of planet-warming greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, said the report, “Reducing Food Loss and Waste”.
It put forward a Global Action Agenda that calls on governments, companies, farmers and consumers to collectively overcome “the world’s food loss and waste problem.”
Some of these actions include developing national strategies for food loss and waste reduction, creating national public-private partnerships, launch supply chain initiatives, reducing small-holder losses and shifting consumer social norms.
Referencing “numerous studies”, the report said most of the food loss happens “near the farm” predominantly in lower-income countries and most of the food waste happens “near the plate” predominantly in higher-income countries.
Using data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, the report concluded that roots and tubers are the food group that face the maximum wastage, at over 62% for 2007. Fruits and vegetables follow, with over 41%.
When viewed as a proportion, by weight, of all the food estimated to be lost and wasted globally, fruits and vegetables make up the largest share of total annual food loss and waste.