A side event of the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021
Highlighting the key role of fruits and vegetables in balanced, nutritious diets and the related importance of reducing levels of loss and waste of these easily perishable, fragile goods has been the objective of the FAO’s webinar “Reducing food loss and waste in fruits and vegetables for improving access to healthy diets” on 20 January 2022. The side event of the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit 2021 was themed around the challenge of enhancing the availability, safety, and quality of fruits and vegetables in order to increase consumption and, at the same time, prevent the waste of resources inherent to produce going to landfill.
The event started with a keynote speech delivered by the FAO’s chief economist Máximo Torero Cullen who iterated the rationale behind the sufficient intake of fruits and vegetables from a nutrition point of view and potential improvement enabled through the reduction of their loss and waste.
Afterwards, a panel of experts from across the fruits and vegetables supply chain took the virtual stage. Elda Esguerra (University of the Philippines Los Baños) shared concrete experiences as regards postharvest losses in Asia, their causes, and applied prevention strategies. Eugenia Carrara (World Union of Wholesale Markets) elaborated on the role that wholesale markets can play in reducing food loss and waste, including innovation, capacity building, and exchange of good practices as key ingredients for amelioration.
Following this, Angela Frigo, FEBA Secretary General, made an intervention on the contribution of Food Banks to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables by organisations helping people living with food insecurity. After highlighting the essential value of these dietary components, a variety of initiatives carried out by FEBA Members in different countries was presented including the recovery from a broad range of sources (for example the retail sector, wholesale markets, or producer organisations) and the packaging and processing of produce in order to extend their shelf lives. Additionally, recommendations for future actions and priorities have been presented, such as the intensification of collaborations among those stakeholders involved in the food supply chain and the fostering of innovation projects to facilitate the handling of fruits and vegetables.
As the final panel member, Hon. Dipankar Talukdar (Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Food, Bangladesh) spoke about required and implemented policy measures to address issues in the fruit and vegetable supply system and tackle food loss and waste.
To conclude the event, Rosa Rolle (FAO) then summarised the key take-aways in her closing remarks.