FAO: waste denies human right to food

2013-12-10 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) About one-third of all food produced is not eaten and, if food waste continues along this track, about 60 per cent more food will have to be produced by 2050 to meet the world’s food needs, says the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

But Robert Van Otterdijk, agro-industry officer at the FAO, says such over-production can be kept at bay and the environment protected by simply reducing food waste.

“Some simple mathematics can show you that if you half the amount of food lost or wasted at the moment, from 30 per cent to 15 per cent for instance, then the production increase only needs to be 32 per cent in order to reach 60 per cent more food available,” he said. “And that is where the big gain and impact is. Because in a world where land and water is very scarce, it’s very important to be very economic with these natural resources and energy use.”

Otterdijk says food waste is high on the world political agenda. To that end, the FAO has gathered more than 150 organizations, whose mission is to reduce food loss and waste, for a two-day meeting in Rome. The groups will discuss ways to streamline initiatives and coordinate their efforts.

And, on International Human Rights Day, Otterdijk underlines how food waste puts a basic human right at risk.

“Food loss and waste denies people that right to food because you produce a lot of food to be eaten and then that is not happening,” he said. “The food is getting spoiled or just thrown away… before somebody can eat it and so it is somehow denying people the right to food.”

In related news, Caritas Internationalis launched today its campaign to end world hunger by 2025. Pope Francis backed the initiative in a video message, in which he called world hunger a scandal and urged all people to be mindful of their food consumption and to reduce food waste.

Listen the report by Laura Ieraci: