The State of Food and Agriculture 2019

Moving Forward on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

image of The State of Food and Agriculture 2019

This year's edition provides new estimates of the percentage of the world's food lost from production up to the retail level. It suggests that identifying and understanding critical loss points in specific supply chains – where considerable potential exists for reducing food losses – is crucial to deciding on appropriate measures. It also provides some guiding principles for interventions based on the objectives being pursued through food loss and waste reductions, be they in improved economic efficiency, food security and nutrition, or environmental sustainability.



Policymaking for food loss and waste reduction – guiding principles

Earlier chapters of this report discussed the motives of private actors for investing in food loss or waste reduction (the business case), as well as the rationale for public intervention. The argument has been made that public interventions may be justified by the economy-wide efficiency gains to be had from loss or waste reduction (the economic case), as well as its potential contribution to improved food security and nutrition or environmental sustainability. This chapter discusses the types of public interventions that can reduce food losses or waste, not as a goal in themselves but rather as a means towards wider social or environmental goals. The scarcity of reliable data as to how much and where food is lost or wasted, and the lack of information regarding the costs of reduction efforts, are a major obstacle to the formulation of effective policies for loss or waste reduction. The chapter therefore also presents a possible road map for the collection of reliable, comparable data worldwide.


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