ROME, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Food loss and waste along the supply chain must be effectively reduced, and more refined tools were needed to assess the problem in large, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) urged in a major report on Monday.
Unveiled here at the FAO headquarters, "The State of Food and Agriculture 2019" (SOFA) report said about 14 percent of food is averagely lost at global level.
This fresh estimate overall considered the different stages of the supply chain from harvesting up, excluding retail and consumption.
The FAO specified that the losses vary much "from one region to another within the same commodity groups and supply chain stages."
Central and Southern Asia was the region with the highest rate of losses (20.7 percent), followed by Northern America and Europe (15.7 percent), and sub-Saharan Africa (14 percent).
In this perspective, the report stressed that there was "a considerable potential for reduction where percentages are higher."
Since some products are more perishable than others, losses were not equally registered along the various food chains.
Peaks were registered for roots, tubers, and oil-bearing crops (25.3 percent) and for fruits and vegetables (21.6 percent), while loss percentages were much lower for meat and animal products (11.9 percent) and for cereals and pulses (8.6 percent), according to the SOFA.
The report provided several more detailed information about where, how, and why these losses occur along the different stages of the chain, stressing that a careful analysis was critical to identity the critical loss points and the most appropriate measures for their reduction.
"As we strive to make progress towards reducing food loss and waste, we can only be truly effective if our efforts are informed by a solid understanding of the problem," FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu stated in the foreword to the SOFA.
Qu also highlighted that food loss and waste was an issue concerning not only food security but environment as well.
To better assess it, the UN was working on two new specific indicators -- the Food Loss Index and the Food Waste Index -- to measure what happens at each stage of the chain, the report recalled.