Food Waste Exacerbates Food Insecurity

Today (29 September) is the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, an opportunity to raise awareness of the severity of the problem and promote global efforts at finding a solution.

As levels of food insecurity continue to rise across the globe, reducing food losses and waste could not be more important. In 2019, almost 750 million people experienced severe levels of food insecurity, while an estimated 2 billion people in the world did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. 

Despite this, an estimated 26,082 tonnes of food goes to waste every single day, equating to 391 grams of food per person, per day. Globally, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 17 percent of total global food production is wasted (11 percent in households, 5 percent in the food service and 2 percent in retail). 

Given the extreme levels of need, it is imperative that a lasting solution is found. The International Day of Food Loss and Waste Reduction provides an opportunity for the international community to move forward with building resilient food systems that have sustainability at their core. According to the UN, the introduction of technologies, innovative solutions, new ways of working and good practices to manage food quality and reduce food loss and waste are key to implementing this transformative change.

In Syria, food insecurity is now at record levels. 12.4 million people - 60 percent of the population - lack sufficient access to food. The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that the number of Syrians who are severely food insecure - meaning they cannot survive without food assistance - has doubled in the past year to 1.3 million. Another 1.8 million are at risk unless urgent action is taken.

Insufficient access to food takes a severe toll on health and wellbeing. Focusing specifically on children, an absence of nutritious food in daily meals causes lifelong risks, such as stunting, or chronic malnutrition. As well as impairing growth and development, stunting increases the likelihood of anxiety and depression and inhibits a child’s ability to fight off disease. In Syria, at least one in eight children, or 500,000, currently suffer from this condition.

Yet combatting the unacceptable levels of food loss and creating resilient and sustainable food systems would go some way towards addressing these issues. It is time for action on both a global and local level to maximise the use of the food we produce.  

We are on the ground in Syria implementing a range of projects so that all people have sufficient access to food. As well as distributing locally sourced food parcels that contain enough nutritional ingredients to feed a family of five for a month, we promote sustainable food projects such as micro gardening. With your help, we can ensure that no one goes without.