Food Loss and Waste – Can we end it by 2030 while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • 13th May 2020
  • by secretary

12 May 2020. WEBINAR. Food Loss and Waste – Can we end it by 2030 while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic? IFPRI 

COVID-19 has significantly disrupted the food chain and with just ten years to go before the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG 2030) is to be met, eliminating food loss and waste is increasingly urgent. Building on the 2019 inaugural event, this special event will discuss whether, as a global community, we can or will end food loss and waste while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Troels Mandel Vensild, Minister Counsellor of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Embassy of Denmark in Washington, DC
  • Johan Swinnen, Director General, IFPRI
  • Mogens Jensen, Minister for Food, Fisheries and Equal Opportunities & Minister for Nordic Cooperation, Government of Denmark
  • Stephen Censky, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Anna-Karin Modin-Edman, Senior Sustainability Manager, Arla Foods
  • Denise Osterhues, Senior Director for Corporate Affairs, The Kroger Company
  • Ambassador Darci Vetter, Vice Chair for Agriculture, Food and Trade, Edelman; Former Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the United States Trade Representative
  • Craig Hanson, Vice President for Food, Forest, Water & the Ocean, World Resources Institute (WRI)
  • Rob Vos, Director, Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division, IFPRI
  • Moderator Rajul Pandya-Lorch, Director, Communications and Public Affairs & Chief of Staff, Director General’s Office, IFPRI

09/05/2020. The Economist: The world’s food system has survived covid-19,

but things could still go awry

French fishermen say they are throwing back two-thirds of their catch. Australia is facing an avocado glut. Alain Goubau, a farmer in Ontario, now feeds some of his milk back to his cows. But there is a limit to what can be recycled; most of what cannot be sold will be wasted. Millions of litres of keg beer is going stale. The eu is expecting to lose €400m ($430m) of potatoes. America’s food-waste ratio is set to rise from 30% to 40% this year, according to André Laperrière of godan, a group which promotes open data.

Some farmers deprived of markets, and thus cash, by restaurant closures and the like will leave crops to rot rather than pay for harvest. Some will go bust. In countries with low interest rates the risk is lessened. American farms pay much less to service their debt than they did in the 1980s, and are thus more secure. Capital-intensive farms in Latin America, where debt-to-equity ratios and interest rates are high, are much more exposed.

The globalisation means more countries depend on imports. Analysis done for The Economist by Josef Schmidhuber and Bing Qiao of the un’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (fao) shows that most countries are more dependent on imports today than they were 20 years ago (see map).

Although farms are, by their nature, local, much of the rest of the food industry is global. The supplies of seed, fertiliser, machinery and fuel that farmers need come from far afield. The companies that tie the system together—giant middlemen like America’s adm, Bunge and Cargill, Louis Dreyfus, based in the Netherlands, and Olam International, based in Singapore—all operate on a worldwide basis, sourcing, storing and shipping agricultural commodities for foodmakers like Kraft or Unilever. Their size and global reach lets them make a lot of money on quite narrow margins. They can quickly swap one source for another to accommodate changes in supply or demand, smoothing prices and keeping the system flexible.