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Shobha Karandlaje Inaugurates Int’l Workshop on Food Loss & Waste Prevention in South Asian Region at New Delhi

With around 74 million tonnes of food lost in India every year, the workshop on Food Loss & Waste Prevention holds great significance in addressing this issue and making more people food secure.

Shivam Dwivedi
Shobha Karandlaje Inaugurates Int’l Workshop on Food Loss & Waste Prevention in South Asian Region at New Delhi  (Photo Source: Shobha Karandlaje/Twitter)
Shobha Karandlaje Inaugurates Int’l Workshop on Food Loss & Waste Prevention in South Asian Region at New Delhi (Photo Source: Shobha Karandlaje/Twitter)

Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Shobha Karandlaje, inaugurated the International Workshop on Food Loss and Waste Prevention in the South Asian Region today. The event, a joint effort by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) and the Thünen Institute in Germany, brought together experts and delegates from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, France, Germany, Indonesia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

MoS Shobha Karandlaje applauded the collaborative efforts of ICAR and the Thunen Institute, Germany, in addressing the critical issue of food loss and waste. She emphasized that around 3 billion tonnes of food go to waste globally, highlighting the scale of the problem. The minister stressed the importance of sharing proven technologies and practices from both developed and developing countries to reduce food loss and waste worldwide.

Shobha Karandlaje also underscored the role of social organizations in spreading awareness among stakeholders and implementing methods to minimize food waste. She emphasized that food loss is not just a loss to consumers but also impacts the environment and economies.

In her speech, Shobha Karandlaje pointed out that South Asia is a significant producer and consumer of food, making it a moral and economic imperative to reduce food loss and waste. She called for identifying primary reasons for food loss, raising awareness among stakeholders, implementing efficient harvest and storage practices, streamlining distribution, involving the industry, promoting donation and food banks, innovating in food packaging, and emphasizing consumer responsibility. She also declared wasting food a ‘crime’ and encouraged educating children about the importance of not wasting food.

Dr. Stefan Lange, Research Director at the Thunen Institute, highlighted that mitigating food loss and waste is the most effective way to ensure food reaches those in need. He mentioned the "Collaboration Initiative on Food Losses & Food Wastes," which facilitates the global exchange of research results and practical experiences in the fight against food loss and waste. He suggested that the Government of India can play a pivotal role in influencing neighboring countries to join individual and collaborative efforts to curb food loss and waste.

Clementine O’Connor of the United Nations Environment Programme, France, discussed food loss and waste metrics and their impact on agricultural and environmental sustainability. She noted the role of pandemic, climate change, and conflicts in exacerbating food loss and waste. O'Connor called for policy development to facilitate the sharing of best practices and awareness creation among consumers. She reminded the audience of the urgency in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which aims to halve food losses by 2030.

Dr. K Narsaiah, Assistant Director General (Post-harvest Engineering) at ICAR, provided a historical perspective on food losses and showcased indigenous methods from various societies worldwide for preventing food loss and waste. All delegates pledged to take action to prevent food loss and waste in their families, offices, industries, societies, and communities.

DDG (NRM) Dr. SK Chaudhari and Deputy Director General (Agricultural Engineering) Dr. SN Jha from ICAR welcomed the guests and delegates, highlighting the variations in post-harvest losses and food waste across different regions. They shared that a bilateral meeting between India and Germany during the G20-MACS conference in Varanasi in April 2023 led to the decision to organize this regional workshop.

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