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Xi emphasizes efforts to cut food wastage
CHINA DAILY 2021-09-11

 International Conference on Food Loss and Waste opens in Jinan, Shandong province on Sept 10. [Photo provided to english.jinan.gov.cn]

Calls for G20 members to bring about anti-hunger efforts amid COVID-19

President Xi Jinping highlighted on Friday the need for countries across the world to adopt quicker and more concrete actions to reduce food loss and waste, with global food security being under threat in the face of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to congratulate the opening of the International Conference on Food Loss and Waste, Xi underscored cutting food losses and waste as an important gateway to ensuring food security-a fundamental issue that matters to the existence of humanity.

The conference, proposed by China during the 15th G20 Leaders' Summit last year, should serve as an opportunity for all parties to work together in carrying out the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and contribute to the zero-poverty target, he said.

The president also urged all parties to make greater contributions to global food security and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Xi has long given priority to food security and on many occasions emphasized the need to stop food waste. He issued a special instruction in August 2020 saying that food waste was distressing and effective measures must be adopted to curb it.

The conference, under the theme of "reducing food loss and waste and promoting global food security", opened in Jinan, Shandong province, on Friday.

Qu Dongyu, director-general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, said in a video speech that the organization estimates that up to 14 percent of food produced globally goes to waste between the post-harvest and retail stages of the supply chain.

"Furthermore, 17 percent of total global food production may be wasted at the retail, food-service and consumer stages," Qu said. "These high levels of food loss and waste, valued at $400 billion annually, could feed around 1.26 billion more people per year."

He said that the loss and waste is taking place against a backdrop of severe global challenges in terms of food insecurity and malnutrition as "up to 811 million people in the world are undernourished, while 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet".

"We cannot end hunger and all forms of malnutrition if we do not address the high levels of food loss and waste," he said, adding that innovations in business models, institutional arrangements, technologies and digital solutions such as artificial intelligence can all contribute to reducing food loss and waste.

Tang Renjian, minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said China will make parallel efforts in increasing agricultural output and reducing food loss, with steps to curb loss and waste present in all procedures.

The nation will support the establishment of an international dialogue mechanism for reducing food loss to acquire more experience and exchanges in policies and regulations, Tang said.

China will also provide necessary technological support to countries and regions in need and support international organizations, including the FAO, to enhance their role in shoring up grain production and cutting food loss, he added.

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