By Khetam Malkawi – Jan 18,2017

AMMAN — More than 250 workers in food cultivation, handling and retailing in Jordan have been trained on reducing food loss throughout the supply chain.

The training was part of a two-year project implemented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture with the aim of building the capacity of workers in the agricultural sector on reducing food loss, stakeholders said on Wednesday.

Mohammed Hiary, head of the international cooperation division at the ministry, said the project, which concluded this year, is part of a regional programme also implemented in Egypt, Lebanon and Iran.

“The implementation of the project came following conducting a study on the problems related to food loss in the supply chain and the needs of workers in the field,” Hiary told The Jordan Times.

He added that some of the problems that lead to food loss in the supply chain are related to the way in which vegetables and fruit are cultivated. They could also have to do with the handling and storing of produce, among other factors.

Food loss is one of the factors that affects food security in Jordan and is estimated to be one-third of the total production.

Worldwide, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or thrown away every year according to FAO.

As per the agency’s estimates, food loss and waste within the supply chain amounts to around 30 per cent in cereals, 20 per cent in dairy products, 30 per cent for fish, 20 per cent for meat, oilseeds and pulses and 45 per cent in fruit, vegetables, roots and tubers.

A global communication and media campaign has emphasised collaboration and coordination among worldwide initiatives on food loss and waste reduction, FAO said.

FAO in a statement urged the establishment of a global partnership of public and private sector organisations, going side by side with policy, strategy and programme development for food loss and waste reduction.

According to the 2015 Global Food Security Index, Jordan was ranked 55th among 109 world countries in terms of food security. Regionally it came in eighth place among 12 countries covered by the index.

According to FAO, the Near East and North Africa region faces unprecedented challenges to food security and nutrition, especially in the countries that are now under conflict.