Tackling food waste once and for all


LOCAL and global organisations are urging Indonesia to reduce its food waste and loss to not only ensure the availability of nutritious food but also to prevent environmental degradation and financially benefit individuals and businesses.

World Resources Institute (WRI) global director for food, forests and water Craig Hanson said companies yielded US$14 (RM58) in return for every US$1 (RM4) invested in reducing food loss and waste, including by measuring waste and changing packaging.

To tackle the problem, Hanson cited a coalition of executives called “Champions 12.3” that had called on nations to integrate food loss and waste reduction into climate strategies, pursue the problems as part of Covid-19 responses and follow the “Target-Measure-Act” approach, as quoted by a recommendation paper published on Sept 24.

“Now is the time to really take food loss and waste seriously, ” Hanson said in a webinar organised by The Jakarta Post and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) in conjunction with the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on Tuesday.

Indonesia wastes about 300kg of food per person every year, making it among the largest food wasters in the world, Economist Intelligence Unit data revealed.

GAIN executive director Lawrence Haddad said in Tuesday’s webinar that food loss was equivalent to nutrition loss and environment loss.

Most high nutrients are highly perishable, and the availability of nutritious food is crucial in Indonesia, where high rates of undernutrition and overweight prevail.

The 2018 Basic Health Survey showed that one in three toddlers experienced stunting and nearly half of pregnant Indonesian women suffered from anemia due to micronutrient deficiencies in the same year.

Covid-19 is exacerbating the stunting problem as it reduces food accessibility and affordability for households, degrading overall nutrient intake, according to Health Ministry findings.GAIN is currently rolling out its I-PLAN programme, which focuses on improving fish availability by reducing postharvest food losses. It involves assisting small and medium enterprises, giving cash prizes to innovators that could create innovations to tackle the problem and creating demand by educating fish postharvest loss actors, among other measures.

“It’s a really strong incentive for businesses to not waste so much of the food and the products they spend so long trying to grow, harvest and capture.

“We have to help businesses to do that, ” Haddad said.

Health Ministry public health nutrition director Dhian Dipo called reducing food waste an “investment” because reducing household expenditure through food waste reduction frees up resources for other household needs such as education and health. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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