Food waste: A global challenge, a local solution

In a few decades around 75% of of the population will be living in cities. How will we feed those cities?

Today 800 million people are undernourished and one third of food is lost or wasted.  That is around 1.3 billion tonnes every year. With this loss you could feed those undernourished people. To put it into monetary terms: food loss equates to about US$940 billion per year.  If you can use that money for projects to reduce food waste then we may have a solution.

That is the global challenge of food loss and waste. With the Sustainable Development Goals in mind, we have a window of opportunity for action. But how? How can we feed cities?

Guido Santini, from the Food for the Cities Programme says we need to give cities more responsibility for the issue. We have to look at cities in their territorial context and try to understand the role of food in rural and urban areas. There is a need to provide a national and regional framework .This includes ensuring the right to food in subnational legislation. The capacity of local food systems also needs to be strenghtened.

We need to share what we know about food waste and loss, Mr. Santini says. The FAO’s Food For Cities programme is a good example.  In  Ile de France, for instance, nutritious food is recovered and redistributed through social supermarkets. Other examples he mentioned were in Colombia, Canada, Brazil and Sweden.

Capacitiy building has an important role in food loss and food waste, says Nina Waldhauer, a Supply Chain Management expert from Wageningen University. This starts with children who need to appreciate food and understand where it comes from. Consumer behaviour also needs to change. Ms Waldhauer adds that better links between rural and urban areas could be created by shorter supply chains.

Educating kids about the value of food is a great idea and seems to make a lot of sense. It’s not a local solution, but it’s about changing behaviours on global level.

Blogpost by (Myriam Welvaert), #CFS43 Social Reporter – (                                             

Photo Credit: Unsplash (Vincenzo di Giorgi)

This post is part of the live coverage during the 43rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.

24/10/2016 13:30