According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), 363 billion euros of food is wasted every year before even reaching the shelves. Poor storage infrastructure is the biggest culprit.
Up to 21% loss
The biggest pre-shop waste takes place in South Asia, North America and Europe. In Central and South Asia, just over a fifth of the food produced is lost, while the global tally stops at 14 %. New Zealand and Australia score best with a loss of 'only' 5.8 %.
The main losses are due to inadequate storage infrastructure at farms, in other words: at the producer's own premises. Often the food is insufficiently protected from microorganisms, insects and rodents. According to Carola Fabi, head of statistics at the FAO, farmers do not always have the means to invest in better infrastructure and techniques. "In those cases public aid is needed", Belgian newspaper De Standaard quotes her.
By 2030, the United Nations aims to reduce food waste per person by half. "Food loss puts unnecessary pressure on the environment and the raw materials used to produce the food," says FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu. "In essence, it means that raw materials were wasted, pollution was created for no reason, and greenhouse gases were emitted."