TALLINN - A better balance is needed between the production and consumption of food, Estonian Minister of Rural Affairs Urmas Kruuse said in his presentation at the annual food industry conference on Wednesday.
"Today, we're actively involved in the Farm to Fork strategy at the core of the European Green Deal, which focuses on building a suitable food system for consumers, the climate and the environment," Kruuse said in a press release.
Good cooperation is needed between farmers and the food industry for implementing this strategy, and equally as important are innovation in the production and processing stages and contributing to studies and monitoring programs enabling to guarantee the quality and safety of food, the minister said.
"In Estonia, we can say with pride that we have twice as much valuable agricultural land for food production as in the European Union on average, which is the prerequisite for self-sufficiency in food supply," the minister said.
The importance of self-sufficiency in food supply has already been recognized previously during difficult times.
"The importance of protecting valuable agricultural land should be equally as clear," Kruuse added.
One of the issues that needs to be addressed is reducing food waste.
"Around one-third of all food produced globally goes to waste either due to food loss or food waste," he said.
"It is a severe problem that needs to be addressed in developing countries where the largest part of food loss occurs during harvest and in the processing stage as well as in developed countries where 40 percent of food is wasted at the retail and consumption stage," Kruuse said.
In addition to reducing food waste, problems also arise from the need to produce food for an increasingly large global population while keeping the carbon footprint as small as possible.
"From the ministry's view we're making an effort that Estonian food should be held in high regard and that life in rural areas should be good," Kruuse said.