Tran Kim Long, director general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s international co-operation department, said the impact of climate change, the lack of infrastructure for agriculture, and poor post-harvest practices in developing economies were the main causes of food loss and waste.
Dr. Su-San Chang, director general of the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park of the Council of Agriculture of Chinese Taipei, said that with an increasing population, rapid urbanisation and climate change, food security could no longer rely on improved food production alone.
"The fact is that we are producing food that is lost and wasted along the supply chain," she said.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that around 1.3 billion tonnes or one-third of the food produced globally for human consumption has either been lost or wasted each year since 2011, while more than 800 million people still suffer from hunger.
Dr Xifeng Gong, interim lead shepherd for the APEC Agricultural Technological Cooperation Working Group, said that global food security would be seriously undermined if the food security of Asia-Pacific was undermined. Asia has the largest number of 526 million hungry people across all regions (around 65 per cent of the world’s total).
All of the previous APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting’s Declarations included the reduction of food loss and waste as a long-term priority, according to Gong.
“All available resources from the public and private sectors of APEC economies should be used in a suitable way to develop policy recommendations and solutions on reducing post-harvest food loss and waste in the entire supply chain," Gong said.
Gong spoke highly of the APEC Multi-Year Project on "Strengthening Public-Private Partnership to Reduce Food Losses in the Supply Chain" implemented by Chinese Taipei, saying it provided good ways for solving food loss and waste.
In 2013, the project began organising a series of workshops with topics focused on food crops (2013), vegetables and fruits (2014), fishery and livestock products (2015), and retailers and consumer waste (2016).
Through the workshops, participants exchanged experiences and insights on food loss and waste reduction in agricultural sectors and sought to build technical and policy capabilities across APEC economies.
They also discussed creating a stable regulatory framework to encourage investments in innovative solutions to achieve sustainable food-loss reduction.
This year, the project will reach its final phase by synthesising all previous progress and information policy recommendations and action plans.