Youth discuss how to reduce Bangladesh’s food waste – for the people and the planet

Reducing food losses and waste is essential in a world where the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise since 2014, and where tons and tons of edible food are lost and wasted every day. In Dhaka, up to 70 percent of Dhaka’s waste is food – more than eight thousand tons each day.

To mark the second International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (29 September), students from several universities and higher education institutions joined young entrepreneurs, professionals, and innovators, in a webinar to discuss ways to reduce Bangladesh’s food loss and waste. This webinar was organized by the Dhaka Food System project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Globally, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 18 percent of total global food production is wasted (11 percent in households, 5 percent in the food service, and 2 percent in retail). Food loss and waste undermine the sustainability of our food systems.

When food is lost or wasted, all the resources used to produce this food, including water, land, energy, labour and capital – go to waste. In addition, the disposal of food waste in landfills, leads to even more greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change. Food loss and waste can also negatively impact food security and food availability, and contribute to increasing the cost of food.

Chief guest at today’s event, Professor Saleemul Huq, highlighted the damage to the environment that food loss and waste cause. Professor Huq, who is Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), and professor of the Independent University Bangladesh, said that the country’s young people have a key role to play in improving the situation and raising awareness.

John Taylor, Chief Technical Adviser of the Dhaka Food System project said: “There is never room for food loss and waste. Reducing food loss and waste provides a powerful means to strengthen the sustainability of our food systems, improve planetary health, and make cities such as Dhaka cleaner and more attractive.”

Other speakers included Fahim Uddin Shuvo, CEO, Garbageman; Kazi Muinir Rahman, Co-founder and Strategic Lead, Positive Initiative; Omor Faruq, District Coordinator, BD clean; Faruque Ahmed, Volunteer, Bidyanondo; and Uzma Chowdhury, CS-Corp Finance Director of PRAN-RFL Group.

FAO Press Release, 29 September 2021, Dhaka, Bangladesh