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Boosting food security in cities through reduced food waste

Staff writer ▼ | May 29, 2015
FAO and the World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM) are partnering to promote sustainability and inclusiveness in the wholesale sector, including developing best practices for reducing food waste.
Food waste
Food   FAO and the World Union of Wholesale Markets
Wholesalers function as brokers who sell agricultural goods purchased directly from producers in bulk to businesses and resellers.

While significant volumes of food are handled in wholesale markets – particularly in developing countries – information gaps do exist about food waste in the marketing process, including storage and transportation, and wholesale markets are focusing on new efforts to address the issue.

Gathering more detailed information on how much food is lost and wasted at the wholesale level, developing sound procedures to improve logistic efficiencies in urban markets and with suppliers and buyers while preventing and managing waste across the sector are key goals of the partnership.

Roughly one third of the food produced globally for human consumption – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes every year — is lost or wasted. The losses are increasingly concentrated in cities – over half of the world’s population today lives in cities, and by 2050 nearly two-thirds of people will be city dwellers.

FAO estimates that over 40 percent of root crops, fruits and vegetables are lost wasted, along with 35 percent of fish, 30 percent of cereals and 20 percent of oilseeds, meat and dairy products

Calculated from farmgate and retail prices, total food waste represents an economic value of some $1 trillion annually.

By developing best practices for designs and operations of wholesale markets and a more efficient flow of information along the urban food supply chains, the new collaboration aims not only to cut down on food losses and waste but also to enhance producers' access to markets, improve food handling, and make fresher, safer produce more equally available to city consumers.