The “Actions against Food Loss and Waste” campaign has been kicked off with a series of activities including an exhibition, seminars, and business meetings between Vietnamese and Danish sector experts and entrepreneurs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The event aims to improve community awareness about the loss of food and water and to encourage a change in habits.
|Denmark was actively involved in the campaign against food loss and waste
Deputy Head of Mission of the Danish Embassy in Hanoi and a high-ranking representative from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) jointly launched the “Actions against Food Loss and Waste” campaign with a photo exhibition that was opened to the public at the pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake.
“Food loss and waste is a serious global concern and it is now more critical than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic. Research findings show that one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. Due to this huge and awful loss, the number of people facing acute food insecurity could double this year to 265 million due to COVID-19, according to the UN World Food Programme,” said Kim Højlund Christensen, Ambassador of Denmark in Vietnam.
“Food loss and waste consumes about a quarter of all water used by agriculture, requires a land area the size of China, and is responsible for 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. And all these natural resources, unacceptably, go to waste, putting unnecessary pressure on our Earth. I hope that this campaign will help to raise awareness and highlight the fundamental importance of responsible food production and consumption in achieving a sustainable and prosperous world for all,” said Christensen.
The exhibition at the pedestrian zone of Hoan Kiem lake, which was open for the public on September 26-27, aimed to raise public awareness on food loss and waste and encourage responsible food consumption. Visitors had the opportunity to get to know various creative ideas and initiatives on food loss and waste reduction at the household level as well as to witness how food materials could be saved during processing as demonstrated by hotels, restaurants, and university kitchens at the site.
Furthermore, two seminars will be held, including one in Hanoi on September 29 and the other in Ho Chi Minh City on October 2. The seminars will provide a forum to connect and facilitate the exchange of experience, knowledge, and technologies between local decision-makers, sector managers, as well as Danish and Vietnamese professionals and entrepreneurs from food industries and processing, such as rice, aquaculture products, meat, milk, and fruit.
The campaign is a contribution to the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste on September 29 and part of the Danish support to Vietnam’s achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Food loss and waste in the world and in Vietnam
Around a third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted from the farm to the fork in which one-third is discarded by consumers after making purchases and two-thirds are lost in the harvest, processing and transport processes. Food loss and waste causes about $940 billion per year in economic losses, massively exacerbating food insecurity and malnutrition.
According to a survey in major agricultural regions of Vietnam carried out by CEL Consulting, a leading firm in providing advisory, engineering, technology, and training solutions in the field of supply chain and operations, during the first quarter of 2018, on average, a quarter of the food produced was lost before it actually reached processing plants or distribution centres. Total losses are estimated at 8.8 million tonnes or $3.9 billion (2 per cent of Vietnam’s GDP or 12 per cent of Vietnam’s agricultural GDP).
In Vietnam, the fruit and vegetable group accounts for the worst food loss in percentage with 32 per cent of production, which is equal to approximately 7.3 million tonnes lost per year. For the meat industry, losses reach 14 per cent or about 694,000 tonnes per year. In the fish and seafood group, losses represent 12 per cent of production or about 804,000 tonnes per year.
UN SDG 12 and Vietnam
In 2015, the United Nation and member countries agreed on a collection of 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all’. In connection with these SDGs, there are a total of 169 targets and 232 indicators to measure how UN member countries are progressing towards reaching the targets.
The SDG Goal 12 is to “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”. Target 12.3 for this goal is to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses by 2030.
The12.3 Champions, a unique coalition of executives from governments, businesses, international organisations, research institutions, farmer groups, and civil society is formed with the mission of inspiring ambitions, mobilising actions, and accelerating progress towards achieving the SDG Target 12.3 by 2030.
In 2018, the government of Vietnam approved the National Action Plan on Zero Hunger in Vietnam towards 2025. One of the targets of the national plan is that by 2025 “food will not be lost or wasted”.