--- Original Message from Josh Paglia ---
Staggering Food Waste Places Water and Land Resources in Distress, Says
SIWI, FAO, and IWMI
Report Saving Water: From Field to Fork -- Curbing Losses in the Food
Chain launched at CSD-16
As governments struggle with a sudden crisis in the price of food, a
companion crisis in availability of water also threatens billions of
people. To meet the challenge of feeding growing populations and the
global hungry, massive reductions in the amount of food wasted after
production are needed. The Stockholm International Water Institute
(SIWI), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
(FAO) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) will call
on governments to reduce by half, by 2025, the amount of food that is
wasted after it is grown.
The report, Saving Water: From Field to Fork -- Curbing Losses and
Wastage in the Food Chain, will be launched on Wednesday, May 14th 2008
at the 16th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable
Development and outlines concrete steps to achieve a 50 percent wasted
Tossed Food: Like Leaving the Tap Running
Tremendous quantities of food are discarded in processing, transport,
supermarkets and people's kitchens. This wasted food is also wasted
water. In the US, for instance, as much as 30 percent of food, worth
some USD 48.3 billion, is thrown away each year. That's like leaving the
tap running and pouring 40 trillion litres of water into the garbage can
- enough water to meet the household needs of 500 million people.
Through international trade, savings in one country might benefit
communities in other parts of the world.
More than enough food is produced to feed a healthy global population.
Distribution and access to food is a problem -- many are hungry, while
at the same time many over-eat. The Report highlights an often
overlooked problem: we are providing food to take care of not only our
necessary consumption but also our wasteful habits.
"As much as half of the water used to grow food globally may be lost or
wasted," says Dr. David Molden, Director of Research at IWMI. "Curbing
these losses and improving water productivity provides win-win
opportunities for farmers, business, ecosystems, and the global hungry.
An effective water-saving strategy will first require that minimising
food wastage is placed firmly on the political agenda."
Food production is constrained by the availability of water and land
resources. An estimated 1.2 billion people already live in areas where
there is not enough water to meet demand. And with rising demand for
water-intensive agricultural products, such as beef and bioenergy,
pressure mounts. According to the Comprehensive Assessment of Water
Management in Agriculture 2007, these trends will lead to crises in many
parts of the world, particularly South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
"Unless we change our practices, water will be a key constraint to food
production in the future," said Dr. Pasquale Steduto of FAO.
Saving Water from "Field to Fork"
Water losses accumulate as food is wasted before and after it reaches
the consumer. In poorer countries, a majority of uneaten food is lost
before it has a chance to be consumed. Depending on the crop, an
estimated 15-35 percent of food may be lost in the field. Another 10-15
percent is discarded during processing, transport and storage. In richer
countries, production is more efficient but waste is greater: people
toss the food they buy and all the resources used to grow, ship, and
produce the food along with it.
The Report stresses that the magnitude of current food losses presents
both challenges and opportunities. "Improving water productivity and
reducing the quantity of food that is wasted can enable us to provide a
better diet for the poor and enough food for growing populations," says
Prof. Jan Lundqvist of SIWI. "Reaching the target we propose, a 50
percent reduction of losses and wastage in the production and
consumption chain, is a necessary and achievable goal." The Report
outlines a number of attainable steps, such as supporting farmers with
improved harvesting and food storage facilities; benchmarking standards
for businesses to minimise waste in processing and transport; and
educating consumers on the impacts of over-eating and food waste on
A draft of the Report will be made available at www.siwi.org on May 14,
For more information, please contact Josh Paglia, [log in to unmask]
Stockholm International Water Institute
SE 111 51
[log in to unmask]
tel. +46 8522 139 96
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