Food loss is a multidimensional problem that has far reaching implications. Food loss contributes to hunger, food insecurity, inequality and causes direct economic losses. It has been suggested that if food loss were a country, it would be the third largest contributor to greenhouse emissions globally. As such, Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 aims to halve food waste and reduce food loss by 2030.
The seminal 2011 FAO report estimated that that as much as a third of the world’s food is wasted every year. More recent studies put the amount of food wasted at 931 tonnes, or 74kg per capita per year globally.1 The vast majority of this waste is estimated to occur at the household level, followed by food service and retail sectors. However, the scale of food loss in international trade is little understood. Indeed, FAO (2011) report suggested that the “impact of growing international trade on food losses still has to be better assessed.” However, it is understood to be an important contributor to food loss, and international trade cooperation or free trade agreements to reduce delays in moving perishable food products across borders are recommended.
ESCAP has commissioned four country case studies on food loss in international trade, its causes and proposed solutions. The studies are aimed to contribute to understanding non only to countries’ and products specific circumstances, but lessons learnt can be applied more generally to other products (including providing estimates of the aggregate extend of food losses in international trade in the pilot countries) as well as other countries. This workshop aims to present the findings from the studies and allow for engaged consultants to share ideas, obtain feedback and help in bringing out common themes in findings.
 UNEP (2021). Food Waste Index Report 2021. Available from https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/35280/FoodWaste.pdf