The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Expert Consultation on Food Losses and Waste Reduction meeting wrapped up June 13 in Taipei City, with around 60 representatives from 17 member economies discussing best practices and policymaking for curtailing food waste and strengthening food security throughout the region.
Organized by the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture, the two-day meeting gathered officials, stakeholders and experts from the public and private sectors to examine measures for achieving a 10 percent reduction in food losses and waste in APEC member economies by 2020 compared with 2011-2012 levels. Attendees also reached a consensus on forming the APEC Food Losses/Waste Accounting and Reporting Partnership.
COA Deputy Minister Chen Chi-chung in an address on the opening day of the event highlighted the vital role that bolstering food loss assessment and control methods can play in strengthening productivity, noting that a 10 percent reduction in food losses and waste across APEC member economies could save an estimated US$14.3 billion a year.
The meeting was staged under the APEC Strengthening Public-Private Partnership to Reduce Food Losses in the Supply Chain, a five-year Taiwan-initiated project launched in 2013.
During the final phase of the project this year, participants are working to generate policy proposals, action plans, a toolkit and dataset, as well as a consolidated methodology for assessing food losses in member economies.
The results, set to be presented at a high-level policy dialogue in 2018, are expected to provide key recommendations and tools for the APEC Food Security Roadmap Towards 2020 initiative, which aims to develop a food system sufficient to ensuring lasting food security in member economies as well as providing affordable food for low-income consumers.
APEC has identified curbing food waste as a top priority in promoting balanced, inclusive and sustainable growth in the Asia-Pacific. According to the COA, losses and waste account for 26.7 percent of annual food production in APEC member economies. This is equivalent to around 670 million tons annually, an amount capable of sustaining 800 million people.