We publish below the summary of the message that the Holy Father Francis sent to the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), H.E. Mr. Qu Dongyu, on the occasion of the International Day of Food Loss and Waste Awareness 2022:
To His Excellency
Mr. Qu Dongyu
Director-General of FAO
I cordially greet the participants of the celebration of International Food Loss and Waste Awareness Day. I am grateful for the space given to me at this event, which aims to highlight the seriousness of a problem that we cannot afford to ignore in these difficult times we are experiencing.
Both the loss and the waste of food are truly deplorable facts because they divide humanity between those who have too much and those who lack the essentials because they increase inequality, generate injustice and deny the poor what they need to live in dignity.
Food and Nutrition in the World reveal that last year the number of hungry people on our planet increased significantly due to the multiple crises’ humanity faces. More than enough food resources are produced to feed 8 billion people.
‘Paradox of abundance’
The issue, however, relates to social justice, i.e. how resource management and wealth distribution are regulated. Food cannot be an object of speculation. And it is a scandal that big producers encourage compulsive consumerism to enrich themselves, without even considering the real needs of human beings. We must stop treating food, which is a basic commodity for all, as a bargaining chip for the few.
Throwing away food means throwing away people!
On the other hand, wasting or losing food contributes significantly to the increase of greenhouse gas emissions and thus to climate change and its harmful consequences. Each of us is called upon to reorient our lifestyle in a conscious and responsible way, so that no one is left behind and everyone gets the food they need, both in quantity and quality. We owe it to our loved ones, future generations, and those affected by economic and existential misery. May Almighty God bless your works, for the benefit of all humanity.