AT least 1.3 billion tons of food produced globally is being wasted every year, which resulted to around $750 billion of the world’s economic loss and a significant damage to the environment, a United Nations (UN) food agency reported on Wednesday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in its report entitled Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources, said that one-third of the food waste goes in the garbage each year.
The FAO reported that food that is produced but not eaten each year guzzles up a volume of water equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River and is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases to the planet’s atmosphere.
Similarly, 1.4 billion hectares of land—28 percent of the world’s agricultural area—is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted, it added.
Beyond the environmental impacts, food wastage costs some $750 billion annually to food producers, the report also noted.
“All of us—farmers and fishers; food processors and supermarkets; local and national governments; individual consumers—must make changes at every link of the human food chain to prevent food wastage from happening in the first place, and reuse or recycle it when we can’t,” José Graziano da Silva, FAO director general, said.
“We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practices, when 870 million people go hungry every day,” da Silva added.