Already for the 3rd time a workshop took place within the framework of the Thünen-coordinated MACS G20 Initiative Food loss and waste. To mark World Food Day on 16 October 2019, the Thünen Institute organised an event for Southeast and East Asia together with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, FAO Japan and UNEP.
This year's workshop is the third since 2017 organised by the Thünen Institute in cooperation with the respective G20 presidency country. This activity resulted from the Thünen-driven Collaboration Initiative Food Losses and Waste of the „Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists of G20 States“ (MACS-G20). In June 2017 experts from G20 member states were invited to Berlin with Germany as host country. In 2018, the „Regional Dialogue on Food Loss and Waste: Latin American solutions and initiatives” was held in November in Buenos Aires/Argentina.
From October 16th to 18th, 2019 the time had come again, this time in cooperation with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), FAO Japan and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). One of the aims of the workshop was to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 in the Southeast and East Asian countries. The goal is to halve food waste (FW) at the retail, out-of-home and household levels by 2030. In addition, special emphasis was placed on strengthening regional networks and cooperation through personal meetings between the participants coming from companies, authorities and science. A total of 78 experts from Japan, Singapore, China, the Macao Special Administrative Region, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and Germany as well as the UN Agricultural Organization (FAO) were welcomed.
The event started with an excursion to a packaging company that develops plastic packaging using Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) technology. These packages allow a controlled exchange of oxygen and nitrogen between the inside of the package and the environment. This allows the ripening gases produced by the respiration of the packaged fruit and vegetables to escape and slows down the ripening process. Overall, food with this packaging technology has a longer shelf life. On the evening of October 16th, 2019, the FAO hosted an event to mark World Food Day, which was also used as the first networking activity between the participants.
In the course of the workshop, which took place from October 17th to 18th, the participants focused on post-harvest losses in agriculture, waste from out-of-home consumption and in the household, national strategies against FLW, data collection and reporting, legal frameworks and networking. The direct exchange of experiences, ideas and the discussion of concrete problems were promoted in various smaller working groups with specific tasks. A special honour was the introductory presentation by Ms. Toshiko Takeya, Parliamentarian and Secretary General of the "Parliamentary League for the Reduction of FLW and the Support of food banks", which provided an in-depth insight into the specific legislation on FLW in Japan. Ms. Takeya took the opportunity to exchange technical knowledge and participated also in further sessions. The many positive feedbacks from participants encourage us to continue to focus our workshops on the personal exchange of knowledge and experience on burning, region-specific topics.
Further information on the workshop can be found at the MACS-G20 Initiative´s website.
The next workshop on food losses and waste is planned for 2020 in cooperation with Saudi Arabia, which was already represented at this year's workshop by a three-member delegation in order to collect ideas. The target group will then include the states of the Gulf region.