Date: Sunday, 29 September 2024; 4th Anniversary.
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
The International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste is annually observed for the following purposes:
- to recognize the fundamental role of sustainable food production that contributes to poverty alleviation, hunger eradication, and human health,
- to raise awareness of the status of food loss and waste worldwide and associated risks for climate change, agriculture sustainability, human livelihoods, and food supplies,
- to promote and facilitate actions for the elimination of food losses and waste across the world.
The International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste was officially held around the world for the first time on 29 September 2020.
In 2019, the 74th United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/74/209) designating 29 September of each year as the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. The resolution recognized the fundamental role that sustainable food production plays in promoting food security and nutrition and contributing to sustainable development.
Why do we mark the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste?
According to the FAO, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 17 percent of global food production is wasted every year. Overall, the food that is lost and wasted accounts for 38 percent of total energy usage in the global food system. That equals about 1.3 billion tons of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, seafood, and grains. Every day, tons and tons of edible food are lost and wasted. On the other hand, up to 811 million people across the world did not have enough food and faced hunger in 2020. Therefore, cutting food loss and waste is important for reducing hunger and poverty.
With population growth, food loss and waste have a negative impact on food security and food availability. Food loss and waste also contribute to increased cost of food and undermine the sustainability of global food systems. When food is lost or wasted, all the resources such as land, water, labor, energy, and capital that were used to produce that food go to waste. The FAO estimated that the total land area for the food that is lost and wasted equals to combined surface area of China and India. Thus, actions are required at all levels to maximize the use of the food we produce and rethink the way we consume food.
In addition, the disposal of food loss and waste in landfills leads to greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Globally, nearly 30% of agricultural land is occupied to produce food that is ultimately never consumed, while food loss and waste are responsible for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, cutting food loss and waste is one of the most effective ways for individuals and governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate our climate impact, and fight climate change.