twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

WWF and Tesco report indicates more than two billion tonnes of food goes to waste globally

WWF and Tesco have published Driven to Waste, a new report that quantifies the total amount of food lost on farms globally, revealing that an estimated 2.5 billion tonnes of food goes uneaten around the world each year

AdobeStock 96317725WWF and Tesco report shows 1.2 billion tonnes of food is lost on farms, on top of the 931 million tonnes wasted at retail and consumption. (Image source: Adobe stock)

That is an increase of approximately 1.2 billion tonnes on the established estimates of 1.3 billion tonnes wasted each year. These new estimates indicate that of all the food grown, approximately 40% goes uneaten, which is higher than the previously estimated figure of 33%.

Producing food uses a huge amount of land, water and energy, so wasted food significantly impacts climate change – previous estimates suggest that food waste accounts for 8% of greenhouse gases (GHG). Driven to Waste’s new data indicate that the numbers are even more substantial, pointing to a contribution of approximately 10% of all GHG emissions. This is the equivalent of nearly twice the annual emissions produced by all the cars driven in the US and Europe

Compounding the pressure from continued global agricultural resource-use expansion, 4.4 million sq km of agricultural land and 760 cu km of water are used to produce the 1.2 billion tonnes of food that are lost before, during and after harvest or diverted to other uses such as animal feed and biofuel. This equates to a landmass larger than the Indian subcontinent and water volume equivalent to 304 million Olympic swimming pools - and this does not include the additional resources used to produce food that is wasted further down the supply chain.

Crucially, in exploring the contributory factors to food loss, Driven to Waste overturns a long-held belief that food loss on farms is solely an issue in less affluent regions with lower levels of industrialisation. The report shows that per capita farm-stage losses are generally higher in industrialised regions. Despite having higher on-farm mechanisation and only 37% of the global population, high- and middle- income countries of Europe, North America and industrialised Asia contribute 58% of global harvest waste.

Pete Pearson, global food loss and waste initiative lead, WWF, commented, “We have known for years that food loss and waste is a huge problem that can be minimised, which in turn could reduce the impact of food systems on nature and climate. This report shows us the problem is likely bigger than we had thought. Over 50% of food that goes uneaten is lost on farms, but this is not just an issue in developing regions. Driven to Waste shows us more food is lost on farms per capita in very advanced supply chains like the US and Europe. Food loss and waste, and on-farm food loss, is a global problem.”

Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 speaks specifically to food loss and waste but it only sets a measurable target to halve food waste (at the retail and consumption end) by 2030. Goals to reduce food loss refer only to post-harvest but do not include measurable targets. Although several countries are beginning to develop action plans to tackle food loss and waste, they are often concentrated in the latter stage of the supply chain, largely because the scale and severity of the problem on farms has not previously been fully appreciated.


LATEST NEWS IN Processing & Storage

Cagemax: 25 years of quality in animal proteins and fats

Cagemax: 25 years of quality in animal p…

2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the Dutch company Cagemax, a supplier of high-quality animal proteins and fats

Reviewing Kenya’s first agri-hub

Reviewing Kenya’s first agri-hub

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday made an inspection visit to Eni Kenya, the country’s first agri-hub that produces vegetable oil and related bio-products

Nigeria targets agro-processing as a future growth driver

Nigeria targets agro-processing as a fut…

As Nigeria looks to restructure its economy to be more diversified and sustainable,  agro-processing is emerging as a key tool to improve agricultural value added while also bolstering the sector’s...

President Kenyatta urges KTDA to facilitate increased value addition to Kenyan Tea

President Kenyatta urges KTDA to facilit…

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged the Kenya Tea Development Agency Holdings (KTDA) to initiate an elaborate plan that will ensure value addition to 90% of the tea grown in...

Avocado oil refining: Westfalia launches three projects to boost sustainability

Avocado oil refining: Westfalia launches…

The Westfalia Fruit Group has unveiled three innovative environmental and social projects at its fruit processing plant in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province, enhancing sustainability and helping local communities in...

Farmers and agribusinesses in Uganda to receive more than US$5mn to become climate resilient

Farmers and agribusinesses in Uganda to …

The Government of the Republic of Korea, through its development agency Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the International Trade Centre (ITC) will provide funding to support ITC in boosting...

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Processing & Storage

Foundation stone laid for mega rice processing plant in Jigawa

Foundation stone laid for mega rice proc…

President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has laid a foundation stone for the construction of a mega rice processing mill in Hadin, Jigawa state

Redesigning key to revamping plastic packaging sector

Redesigning key to revamping plastic pac…

Significant investment is needed to reduce lifecycle carbon impacts and redesigning is the opportunity to clean up plastic packaging as sector GHG emissions are predicted to rise 75%, says Woodmac Plastic...

Zimbabwe rakes in US$94mn from tobacco exports

Zimbabwe rakes in US$94mn from tobacco e…

Zimbabwe has generated US$94mn from tobacco exports to different countries since the start of 2013, nearly doubling the total sales of tobacco made during the same period a year earlier

AfDB approves investment to boost cold storage and distribution of food in East Africa

AfDB approves investment to boost cold s…

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved an equity investment of US$10mn in the ARCH Cold Chain Solutions East Africa Fund (CCSEAF) to support the development, construction and operation of...

Rwanda to build banana processing plant in Gisagara

Rwanda to build banana processing plant …

A banana processing plant is to be built in Rwanda’s Gisagara District, the local mayor has said

German bank to fund Kenyan juice firm’s expansion

German bank to fund Kenyan juice firm’s …

A Kenyan fruit juice producer has been awarded a long-term loan of US$7.5 million by a leading German development finance institution

Humanitarian agencies to support West African food security storage system

Humanitarian agencies to support West Af…

As part of the International online conference being held by the ECOWAS Commission, humanitarian agencies have pledged to support and work in respect of the West African food security storage...

New grain storage facility to come up in Kenya

New grain storage facility to come up in…

Dryland Seed Limited is building three new warehouses, with a capacity of 500 tonnes each, spread over 2,000 sqm for storing seeds in Machakos County in Kenya

Symaga continues global expansion programmes

Symaga continues global expansion progra…

Symaga, a leading global supplier of silos for the major storage projects, significantly increased the number of important projects in its portfolio in 2018, ensuring a growing turnover and references...

UN invests US$32mn to improve Ugandan agriculture

UN invests US$32mn to improve Ugandan ag…

The United Nations has revealed it has invested more than US$32mn in Ugandan agriculture since 2009

Omnia to sell Oro Agri for US$165mn to Rovensa

Omnia to sell Oro Agri for US$165mn to R…

JSE-listed Omnia Holdings Limited has reached an agreement to sell Oro Agri to Rovensa, a European-based company producing and distributing biocontrol, bionutrition and crop protection solutions

Feed grain and clean conveying

Feed grain and clean conveying

Contemporary grain and feed handling plants are forced to satisfy increasingly strict requirements; African Farming looks at ways to ensure contamination-free conveyance

Prev Next