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Time to stop food wastage, say Aussie farmers

5 June 2013

2013’s World Environment Day is seeking to share the message ‘Think. Eat. Save’, encouraging people to be mindful of food wastage – a message that Australian farmers can relate to, as the producers of almost 93 percent of the nation’s food supply.

Australians throw away approximately 7.5 million tonnes of food every year – some 361 kilograms per person – a staggering amount that contributes to the 1.3 billion tonnes of food that is wasted globally, as estimated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“Food wastage is a growing issue in Australia and globally. As farmers, we work hard to nurture and grow food to sustain our population, and it is important to us to ensure that that food goes towards nourishing people, rather than ending up in our rubbish bins,” NFF CEO, Matt Linnegar said.

“And that’s not taking into the account the wastage that occurs between paddock and plate – approximately 40 percent of fruit and vegetables are discarded before they even reach supermarkets because of high consumer standards about appearance. That’s perfectly good produce going to waste for no good reason.”

As well as raising the issue of food wastage, World Environment Day is also highlighting the importance of buying and eating Australian made produce.

“We’re lucky in Australia to have ready access to nutritious, fresh, affordable food – everything from fruit and vegetables, to grains and dairy and meat and fish,” Mr Linnegar said.

“Buying Australian made has the positive effect of supporting our farmers who, as custodians of close to 61 percent of Australia’s land mass, maintain and nurture our environment daily.

“Caring for the environment goes hand in hand with agriculture. 94 percent of Australian farmers actively work on natural resource management, and primary industries in Australia have led the nation when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Linnegar said, referring to the 40 percent reduction in emissions seen between 1990 and 2006.

“Farmers actively work to conserve our native vegetation, wetlands and rivers. Importantly, the NFF was one of the founding partners of Landcare with the Australian Conservation Foundation over 20 years ago, helping to deliver projects with positive outcomes for both the environment and agriculture,” Mr Linnegar said.

“We support the World Environment Day initiative as a way to raise awareness of environmental issues whilst acknowledging the good work already taking place within agriculture when it comes to caring for our environment, and supplying fresh and healthy food for Australians.”

World Environment Day is taking place today, Wednesday 5 June.

Ends.

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