Document Type : Review Article

Authors

1 Department of Agroeconomy and Rural Development, Faculty of Agriculture, University of East Sarajevo, 711123, East Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

2 Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Rural Development department; International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies of Bari (CIHEAM-Bari), Valenzano (Bari), Italy

Abstract

Food losses refer to edible food mass decrease throughout the human food chain. Food losses occurring at consumption stage are called food waste. Food Losses and Waste (FLW) represent one of the most critical social, economic and ecological challenges facing humanity, besides being also an ethical issue. FAO data show that roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. There are no precise and accurate data regarding food waste in Near East and North Africa (NENA) region. The review paper aims at providing insights about the extent of FLW in NENA region with a special focus on Arab countries and Iran. The paper explores linkages between food waste and food security. Moreover, it analyses the economic and environmental implications of FLW. FLW vary depending on food type, country and season. Generally speaking, postharvest losses are significant in this region for most of commodity groups. It is estimated that FLW amount to 34% of food supply in NENA region. FLW undermine the very foundations of food security and amount to major depletion of resources (e.g. water, land, energy) and produce needlessly greenhouse gases. They also represent a wasted investment that reduces farmers’ incomes and increase consumers’ expenses. Therefore, food waste reduction is crucial for improving the sustainability of the food supply chain and achieving food and nutrition security in the region.

Highlights

Food losses and waste is one of the most critical environmental, social and economic challenges in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region.

Food losses and waste amount to at least a third of food supply in NENA region.

Food wastage undermines the foundations of sustainable food and nutrition security in NENA region.

 Food wastage has far-reaching environmental and economic implications in NENA region.

Reduction of food losses and waste is crucial to improve the sustainability of the regional food system and achieve sustainable food security.

Keywords

Main Subjects

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