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Food wasted by rich nations could end world hunger - U.N.

by Thin Lei Win | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:00 GMT

ARCHIVE PHOTO. A woman picks up vegetables discarded by food vendors at a garbage dump site of a wholesale market in Xi'an, Shaanxi province July 27, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

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Some 821 million people around the world were hungry in 2017

By Thin Lei Win

ROME, Oct 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Rich nations waste $750 billion of food each year, double the amount needed to end global hunger, David Beasley, head of the United Nations World Food Programme, said on Tuesday.

On World Food Day, here are some facts about how much food is wasted globally:

  • About a third of the world's food is lost or thrown away each year, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes, worth nearly $1 trillion, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
  • If current trends continue, food waste will rise to 2.1 billion tonnes annually by 2030. - Almost half of all fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers produced are wasted, the U.N. said.
  • Some 821 million people around the world were hungry in 2017.
  • Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food - 222 million tonnes - as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa - 230 million tonnes.
  • In developing countries, 40 percent of losses occur post-harvest or during processing, while in industrialised countries more than 40 percent of losses happen at retail and consumer levels.
  • Food waste squanders land and water used to produce it, and also releases methane, a greenhouse gas, when left to rot.
  • U.S. consumers waste nearly 1 lb (454 grams) of food per person each day - the equivalent of four portions of chicken or a pint of blueberries.
  • In Europe, 88 million tonnes of food are wasted annually at a cost of 143 billion euros ($177 billion).
  • In Britain, 15 billion pounds ($19.7 billion) worth of edible food is binned every year, including the equivalent of 3 million glasses of milk

(SOURCES: U.N. FAO; European Parliament; University of Vermont; Wrap; Boston Consulting Group)

($1 = 0.7602 pounds)

(Reporting By Thin Lei Win @thinink, Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, and property rights. Visit www.trust.org)

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