Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan takes a lead in saving food

By Eric Chiou 邱奕宏

For instance, the UN Environment Programme and the FAO have set the theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebration as “Think. Eat. Save. Reduce Your Foodprint.” They also launched an anti-food-waste and food-loss campaign on June 5 in Mongolia with the objective of slashing food loss and waste.

Likewise, as the most influential and active regional dialogue forum in the Asia-Pacific region, APEC has recognized the importance of food security and made it one of the priorities in its agenda in recent years.

In particular, reducing food losses has been repeatedly underscored in both the 2010 Niigata Declaration and last year’s Kazan Declaration on APEC Food Security, as well as last year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Declaration.

Hence, it is reasonable to say that the importance of cutting food losses in terms of food security has become a widespread consensus in the international community.

Last year, against this backdrop, the Council of Agriculture contemplated a project that would address food losses in the APEC region.

After convening a series of intensive discussions with academics, experts and representatives from the private sector, the proposal named “Strengthening Public-Private Partnership to Reduce Food Losses in the Supply Chain,” was finalized early this year.

With assiduous lobbying by council officials and in-time assistance from the Chinese Taipei APEC Study Center, this project drew support among APEC economies and won the endorsement of thirteen members as co-sponsors of the project in spring this year.

The project was successfully recommended by the APEC Secretariat last month and finally approved by the committee on June 5 with an impressive amount of APEC funding.

The project has become one of few APEC multi-year projects initiated and led by Taiwan in recent years.

More importantly, this project is holistic, ambitious, pragmatic and forward-looking. It aims to address post-harvest losses in all stages of the food supply chain in the APEC region by strengthening public-private partnership.

The project intends to establish a practical toolkit to reduce food losses, which is designed to provide practical solutions suitable for the Asia-Pacific environment, while enabling APEC developing economies to advance their agricultural productivity by adopting them.

In addition to generating workable solutions, concrete policy recommendations and action plans for cutting food losses, the project attempts to develop a consolidated methodology of food losses assessment for APEC economies. This methodology will be beneficial for identifying the progress made by each economy in reducing food losses.

Given the complexity of post-harvest losses and the unique features of APEC, which covers both developed and developing economies, this project has been specifically tailored to satisfy the different needs of APEC economies.

Meanwhile, in light of an important role played by the private sector in reducing food losses, this project also highlights the active involvement of the private sector by underscoring the public-private partnership, which will take their voices into account and make the outputs of this project more practical and sensible to those involved along the entire food supply chain.

As a result, this project is designed to be implemented in three phases within five years: phase I (2013): identification of key issues; phase II (2014-2016): investigation of food losses; and phase III (2017): consolidation.

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