Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its report entitled Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources states that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted annually. It said wastage is not only causing major economic losses but also destroying the natural resources that humanity relies upon to feed itself. The report was released in Rome in the second week of September 2013.
The report is the first study to analyze the impacts of global food wastage from an environmental point of view. It gives the details of consequences for the climate, water and land use, and biodiversity.
The report found that food that is produced each year but not eaten consumes up a volume of water equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River and it is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases to Earth’s atmosphere.
In addition to environmental impact, the direct economic consequences to producers of food wastage incurred an expenditure of 750 billion US dollars annually, according to FAO’s report.
FAO has also published a comprehensive tool-kit that includes recommendations on how food loss and waste could be decreased at every stage of the food chain.
The tool-kit provides profiles on a number of projects around the world that show how national and local governments, farmers, businesses, and individual consumers can take steps to tackle the problem.
The report elaborated that developing countries suffer more food losses during agricultural production, while food waste at the retail and consumer level found to be higher in middle-and high-income regions.
The later a food product is lost along the chain, the greater the environmental consequences, FAO’s report notes, since the environmental costs incurred during processing, transport, storage and cooking must be added to the initial production costs. Funding for the Food Wastage Footprint report and toolkit was provided by the government of Germany.