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AU: NFF back food waste reduction strategy

A government strategy, to be released next year to reduce the amount of food waste, could significantly improve farm gate prices, according to industry leaders.

The National Farmers’ Federation has thrown its support behind the plan, which would aim to halve the amount of wastage by 2030.

CEO Tony Mahar says it will look at areas from the production level, right through to transport, retail and household shelf life.

"At the moment it is estimated the annual cost of food waste in Australia is around $20 billion which translates to losses of about $2.9 billion at the farm gate," he said.

It follows a roundtable meeting between the government and industry stakeholders, charities and academic representatives.

Among the initiatives being explored are ways to reduce crop losses, and ensure all pieces of produce which don’t meet market standards can find an alternate use.

"It's important that farmers are getting as much value as they can out of every piece of produce, so they are maximising returns," Mr Mahar said.

"It also has the potential to have a flow on to consumers, with initiatives to help prevent the problem of over-shopping."

Federal Environment Minster Josh Frydenberg told the meeting, three million tonnes of food is wasted from the commercial sector, costing $10.5 billion in waste disposal charges.

Educating and the public on their purchasing and wastage habits is also important, as twenty percent of food that households buy ends up in landfill.

But it's not only the economic benefits, it is also hoped to improve the environmental effects.

"Producing food that is ultimately wasted uses 250 gigalitres of fresh water," the NFF said.

"Globally, if food waste were a country it would rank third behind China and the U.S.A, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions."

The National Farmers Federation is also considering the social impact of wastage, saying 600,000 people each month seek food relief from charities such as Foodbank.

"It is absurd that we are sending food to landfill while some of us go hungry," Mr Mahar said.

A National Food Waste Summit will be held in November, to discuss the plan further.

For more information:
Tony Mahar
National Farmers' Federation
Tel: +612 6269 5666,
Email: reception@nff.org.au
http://www.nff.org.au/

Publication date: 4/20/2017
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


 


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