As part of the SAVE YOUR FOOD campaign, the workshop will present recommendations to policy-makers to encourage and facilitate food recovery and redistribution.
A workshop held today is promoting food-banking activities and supporting the work of existing food banks operated by municipalities to reduce food waste.
Organized by FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey in cooperation with the Union of the Municipalities of Turkey (TBB) and the Food Rescue Association, as part of the SAVE YOUR FOOD campaign, the workshop will present recommendations to policy-makers to encourage and facilitate food recovery and redistribution.
The workshop also aims to integrate food-banking practices into municipalities’ social aid programmes and help develop their capacity to receive surplus food donations. This will enable them to reach more beneficiaries at a lower cost.
“The role of local authorities and business is fundamental to improving food waste prevention, redistribution and reuse”, said Viorel Gutu, Subregional Coordinator for Central Asia and FAO Representative in Turkey,in his opening remarks.
He continued: “Local authorities aside, food banks are equally significant actors in the day-to-day fight against food waste and over production. They are key to reducing the burden on families across the globe and decreasing food shortages. By working with our partners and organizations, I believe a concrete and sustainable solution can be found.”
Emphasizing that making food accessible to everyone also means protecting humanity, Ahmet Misbah Demircan, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, added “This workshop represents an important opportunity to share a common vision.”
“We are open to all effective, innovative and inclusive ideas to prevent food waste”
Fatma Şahin, President of the Union of the Municipalities of Turkey,noted thatthe reliable functioning of the food supply chain has become as valuable as gold or oil in the context of the pandemic.
“Following the pandemic, both food and agriculture will be on the global agenda. We are open to all effective, innovative and inclusive ideas to prevent food waste, and to this end we have launched a competition called ‘I have an idea!’ Any municipalities that have an idea to prevent food waste are invited to share it with us. We will provide greater financial support to those who realize their ideas in just one year”, Şahin added.
“Food banking is one of the most efficient weapons to prevent food waste”
Bekir Pakdemirli, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, explained that food banking is one of the most efficient weapons to prevent food waste.
Food banking is a structure that allows people in need to benefit from reliable food free of charge. The system is not limited to food – it can also be used to provide vital hygiene products, clothes, books and toys, all of which are necessary for a good quality of life. At present, the food banking system in Turkey is operational but there are still many aspects that require attention. It is our duty to identify any shortcomings and improve the system.”
“We have increased our current national food bank capacity 30 times”
After the opening remarks, the meeting continued with a presentation by Berat İnci, Chairman of Food Rescue Association, on the “Current Situation of Food Banking in Turkey”.
“Since 2017, the Food Rescue Association, in cooperation with Whole Surplus, has prevented the waste of 16 000 tonnes of food, benefiting 1.1 million people. We have increased the national food bank capacity 30 times over this period, but the required capacity still needs to be developed. To achieve this target, the Food Rescue Association is open to cooperation with all municipalities and non-governmental organizations.”
“We have developed guidelines for food recovery and redistribution as a response to requests from countries in the region”
“FAO has developed guidelines for food recovery and redistribution activities (including food donations) in Europe and Central Asia as a response to increasing requests from countries in the region, in order to support the implementation of favourable legislation and policies on food recovery and redistribution”, said Myriam Annette, FAO Consultant on Food Loss and Waste Prevention and Reduction,in her presentation.
She continued: “The guidance compiles examples of policy measures and legislative adjustments introduced in different countries, and particularly in the European Union (EU). It also collects relevant publications produced by other organizations and institutions, including the EU guidelines on food donation.”
The workshop continued with two panels entitled “Social Municipalities and Food Banking” and “Sharing Good Practices”, featuring representatives of municipalities familiar with food banking activities and relevant local associations and foundations. The panels provided comprehensive discussions on these topics.