International conference on food waste and food losses in The Hague

It is a sobering fact that one-third of the food we produce is never eaten. Now, governmental organisations, academics, and businesses around the world are coming together to do something about it, at the international conference ‘NO MORE FOOD TO WASTE: Global action to stop food waste and food losses,’ to be held at the World Forum in The Hague (16-19 June).

The chairperson of the conference is Dutch Minister for Agriculture Mrs Sharon Dijksma. “It's hard to accept the fact that fully a third of the food we produce doesn't make it to our plates, especially when you consider how many millions of people are going to sleep hungry every night,” she says. “We need to take worldwide action now, because land, fresh water and energy are all becoming increasingly scarce resources for a growing world population. This conference will be an important step towards active partnerships, new funding structures and effective policy models.”

There are already a number of individual initiatives underway on this issue. The Netherlands is at the forefront of reducing food losses, and with this conference our country is taking the initiative to break ground on global-level solutions for the entire food supply chain, from farmer to consumer.

Food losses happen at the start of that supply chain, often the result of less than ideal harvesting techniques, packaging, transport and storage. Investing in new technology and improving facilities are critical factors here, but will have little effect if, at the other end of the supply chain, supermarkets, restaurants, caterers, and consumers continue to waste food. Companies, governmental institutions, and scientists are now joining forces to restructure the entire food supply chain to ensure that we actually eat what we grow.

Today, there are still over eight hundred million people going hungry every day. A further two billion in the world are suffering from ‘hidden hunger,’ or malnutrition. Meanwhile, the world population continues to grow, and is projected to reach nine billion in 2050. Experts predict that we will then need to be producing 60% more food than we do now.

More than 400 participants from around the world will be attending the conference to call for an end to food losses and food waste. Participants include representatives of governments (including 17 ministers), companies (including Nestlé, DSM, and Royal Ahold), scientists, and civil society organisations.

The conference is being organised by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, in cooperation with the government of Vietnam, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the African Union Commission (AUC).

The programme is available at www.nomorefoodtowaste.nl.

Follow the conference on Twitter via @nofood2waste or the hashtag #nofood2waste