Collaborative action between government, industry associations and consumers is important in addressing food wastage in Asia, according to a new report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The report, titled ‘Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not’, highlighted that an alliance between all stakeholders can help address inefficiencies in the supply chain. It also pointed out that most food wastage in Asia occurs at the farmer-producer end of the supply chain such as crop harvesting, storage and transport, particularly in the lesser developed countries in the region.

According to the Expert Working Group Meeting on Food Wastage in Southeast Asia report, these countries’ relatively low “adoption of modern technologies” in the early stages of the supply chain contributes to higher food wastage. This lack of modern technologies often leads to improper harvesting and storage of produce.

To tackle this problem, interventions are required to ensure “modernisation and upgrading of preservation and packaging technologies; and improvements in transportation and logistics”. This needs to be further supported by the education and training of farmers on the use of the technologies.

A collaborative approach in driving these interventions would improve farmers’ engineering and manufacturing knowledge, and drive adoption of modern technologies and investment in the right infrastructure required for proper storage and transportation.

A systemic approach can also enable the government and other stakeholders to put in place appropriate policies to create “an enabling environment” for the implementation of these modern technologies as well as in the investment in capacity development along the supply chain.

The food industry invests heavily in research and development (R&D) along the supply chain, and is able to offer key industry knowledge that can contribute to reduce food waste in the region. Coordinated efforts between the governments and the food industry can help create a “knowledge transfer” platform among all stakeholders in the supply chain. Through this, farmers, producers and wholesalers are able to share knowledge on best practices and identify tangible measures to reduce food wastage. It will also help strengthen the lines of communication among stakeholders in the supply chain.

FIA Executive Director, Bev Postma, agreed that a concerted effort to tackle food wastage is important and it has the potential to have a significant impact upon food security in the region.

“Collaboration between all stakeholders will ensure the best measures and solutions are used to tackle food wastage issues. This in turn will help support a resilient supply of food in Asia,” she said.