Solutions to Food Waste Are Wanted and Needed in Costa Rica

    And for that matter, the whole world

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    Did you know that a third of the food the world produces is thrown away each year? Yes; a third of the food produced globally is lost or wasted along the supply chain. That is, around 1.3 billion tons of food end up in the garbage each year.

    Food loss and waste limits and has a great impact on the sustainability of food systems. It implies a waste of natural, nutritional and productive resources. To counteract this problem, actors from the public and private sectors, academia and non-governmental organizations met in an independent dialogue to present solutions.

    Alternative to avoiding waste

    The space allowed to recognizing the main opportunities and challenges facing the country to optimize food donation processes, as an alternative to avoid waste. “Addressing this problem from the point of view of food donation and redistribution creates the opportunity to manage surpluses more responsibly and takes a further step towards food security”, explained Laura Brenes, coordinator of the Costa Rican Redistribution Network of food loss and waste.

    During the dialogue, key aspects were also discussed, such as the identification of beneficiary populations and their nutritional needs, food safety, nutritional quality of donated food, national mechanisms for donation, and use of technology and public policies that promote the reduction of waste.

    “For Costa Rican society it is vital the importance of knowing the regulatory framework that exists in the country, which defines the food donation process, as well as the legal benefits that support it from a social investment perspective”, commented Francia Linares, Executive Director of the Costa Rica Food Bank.

    Food Systems Summit

    The conclusions of this dialogue will be presented at the Food Systems Summit, convened by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. Both in June and July, dialogues were held in which people linked to food systems can share their views on the current situation, as well as propose solutions to improve their performance.

    “Mapping the actions and proposals to reduce food loss and waste is important, as this has a great impact on the sustainability of agrifood systems. In addition, it reduces the local availability of food, causing losses in the income of national producers”, said Andrea Padilla, assistant representative of FAO programs in Costa Rica.
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