In the course of the MACS-G20 Collaboration Initiative Food Losses and Wastes coordinated by Thünen Institute, an annual workshop is organised as one among various activities. This year, Thünen Institute arranged a workshop on Food loss and waste (FLW) in cooperation with local partners in Buenos Aires by end of November 2018. We also took the opportunity to negotiate long-term joint activities with FAO on the topic.
Since 2017 Thünen Institute organises an annual, international workshop on Food Loss and Waste Prevention. 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). The first workshop of the series was conducted in June 2017 in Berlin with participants from G20 member states with Germany as host. Also in the following years the workshops should be organised as cooperation between Thünen Institute and partners from the corresponding G20 presidency. In 2018, the workshop was finally held from November 20th to 21st in Buenos Aires/Argentina. The „Regional Dialogue on Food Loss and Waste: Latin American solutions and initiatives” was embedded into the framework of the „Week of Agriculture and Food“. The FLW event was a cooperation of FAO Latin America and The Caribbean, FAO Argentina, the Argentinian Secretary of Agroindustry as well as the Argentinian Institute of Agrotechnology (INTA) with Thünen Institute.
The workshop was divided into plenary as well as working sessions. The offered capacity of 50 seats was fully booked by participants from eleven Latin American and Caribbean countries. The participants shared their positive experiences from their national projects and elaborated joint paths towards tackling existing problems or identified gaps. At the end of the workshop a Call for Action was signed by all organisers as well as representatives from the Interamerican Development Bank, the Consumer Goods Forum as well as the Global Food Banking Network. With this, their strong commitment for future joint cooperation and support of food waste prevention activities in the region was underlined.
In parallel to the event, the regional director of the agricultural organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Latin America and The Caribbean, Mr. Julio Berdegué, invited our research coordinator Stefan Lange as well as the coordinator of the MACS-G20 FLW Initiative, Felicitas Schneider. Both sides highlighted the fruitful cooperation in the course of the preparation of the Buenos Aires workshop and discussed additional ideas for the future. The plan is to support especially those Latin American and Caribbean countries whose national discussion process is already advanced. Thereby, good results should be achieved in practise which can be used as stimulation and model for other countries.
After the workshop our colleagues visited the Food Bank in Buenos Aires by their own. Food processing companies donate surplus food which is not marketable to the food bank which redistributes the food to social organisations. This approach saves not only 4,400 tons of edible food annually for being wasted but supports also approximately 100,000 people in need. Whereas the Northern Argentinian food banks in Santiago del Estero and Tucumán - which were visited in May 2018 by Stefan Lange and Felicitas Schneider - a lot of fruits and vegetables rescue from the wholesale market, the larger food bank in Buenos Aires manages a direct delivery from the donors to social organisations instead. Thus, the mostly overripe fruits and vegetables spare the loopway to the storage facility of the food bank and are redirected directly to the end consumers.
The next workshop on Food Loss and Waste prevention is scheduled for 2019 in Japan. Target group are participants from South-east Asia.