ORU Fogar at the meeting of experts against food waste

ORU Fogar was invited to the meeting 'Strategies to reduce food loss and waste: a multi-sectoral approach', held on October 3rd in Valencia (Spain) and co-organized by the World Sustainable Urban Food Center (CEMAS) -located in that city- and the European Food Information Council (EUFIC). The event was attended by representatives of the FAO, the European Commission, specialized think tanks, governments of different countries, in short, experts from all over the world. All agreed on the need to act decisively against a problem that affects all countries: the less developed ones, because they have losses throughout the food production chain; and the more developed ones, because there is a great deal of food wastage at the consumer level.

Already at the opening, EUFIC Director General, Laura Fernandez, framed the theme when she pointed out that in Europe there are 8 million tons of food wastage per year, "while millions of people cannot afford a meal a day". Anne-Laura Gassin, Director of Health and Food Safety at the European Union, confirmed the alarming figures and explained that, according to Eurostar, food wastage in Europe is not decreasing.

During the congress it was highlighted that, with the food wasted, 1,260 million hungry people could be fed every year. The director of CEMAS, Vicente Domingo, highlighted the responsibility of administrations to make families and individuals more aware of waste and stressed the need to "rediscover the true value of food". 

The director of FAO Brussels, Raschad Al-Khafaji, spoke of "worrying figures and a frightening reality" and warned of the ecological and moral dilemma and disaster caused by food waste. He pointed out the need to "raise people's awareness, because we are far from where we should be." In an approach that has always been ORU Fogar's approach, he spoke of how it is necessary to "invest in infrastructure, especially in rural areas to ensure that what is grown reaches the market". He said he was in favor of "making it more attractive for young people to be a farmer-food producer". And finally, he was in favor of "filling homes with the wisdom of mothers and grandmothers" and "returning to the awareness and respect that food deserves".

During the event, presentations were given by companies such as Nestle, Danone or To Good to Go, as well as journalists and influencers specialized in food issues, and NGOs with a lot of experience in the field such as Espigoladors, Avramar or European Council of Young Farmers. 

One of the presentations was given by ORU Fogar's Secretary General, Carles Llorens, who explained that during the IV Summit of Regions “Zero Hunger”, held in Araucanía, Chile, in October 2022, the topic that generated most interest was food utilization. “Perhaps," he ex-plained, "because it makes it relatively easy to address the issue of food and hunger, which are issues that, beyond declarations, are difficult to resolve. SDG 2 Zero Hunger is being resis-ted more than expected". 

ORU Fogar's Secretary General explained that, in Chile, it was clearly seen that there was a problem in developing countries of food loss (due to poor infrastructure), along the produc-tion chain; and a problem in developed countries of food wastage at the consumption stage. He said that good references in policies to avoid food wastage are the Basque and Catalan governments. The Basque government, through the Elika Public Agency for Food Safety," he explained, "has detailed studies of all the areas related to food, so that, having located with figures the areas where wastage occurs, it can act accordingly. In the area of waste, they ha-ve developed policies to separate irrecoverable waste from by-products that could perhaps be used, for example, for animal feed. Elika, above all, has stood out for its "Food is not thrown away" campaign, which has been supported by renowned Basque chefs. 

The Generalitat de Catalunya, for its part, has a very good collaboration with civil society and companies for the use of products close to their expiry date. Also noteworthy is the collabo-ration between the governmental sphere dedicated to food and that which deals with waste management.


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