Twenty stakeholders in the agricultural sector have received technical support through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), to manage Food Loss and Waste (FLW).
At a workshop held on June 7, focus was placed on waste and loss management related to harvest and postharvest production, distribution and commercialisation.
Regional Consultant on Food Systems and Governance at the FAO, Sara Granados Ortiz, said that Jamaica has “perennially suffered from a high level of food loss and waste”.
“According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Jamaica loses roughly 30 per cent of its agricultural output due to lack of adequate post-harvesting facilities and transportation,” she said.
Ortiz also said if not addressed, this could become a threat to the island’s food security.
“This is especially so in the leafy vegetables and soft fruits value chain, with pre-pandemic levels of up to 30 per cent in loss and waste. Prioritising the reduction of food loss and waste is, therefore, critical for the transition to sustainable agri-food systems that improve the efficient use of natural resources, lessen their impact on the planet and ensure food security and nutrition,” she argued.
The workshop, which was held at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining in Kingston, saw personnel from the Bureau of Standards (BSJ) Jamaica, 4-H Clubs, Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) as participants.
The workshop was held in two sessions and featured presentations from representatives from the Government of Colombia on international experiences, and progress in the prevention and reduction of FLW.
Experts on post-harvest innovation and management from the University of the West Indies and experts from the FAO on statistics related to Food Loss Index also presented.
The workshop forms part of the FAO’s Regional Initiative on Sustainable Diets and Food Systems.
This initiative supports the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen their capacities in the prevention and reduction of Food Loss and Waste.