Agro-Industry Officer, FAO Robert van Otterdijk is a specialist in food technology acquiring a degree at the Agriculture University of Wageningen in the Netherlands in 1985. He initially worked in quality assurance as well as research & development in the Dutch food industry. He then joined the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 1989, where he worked on technological projects in the post-harvest and food industries in Ghana (West Africa) and Tonga (South Pacific).
In 2002 he returned to FAO, this time as agro-industry officer in the FAO Regional Office in Accra, Ghana. After six years, he moved to FAO Headquarters in Rome, where he started working as agro-industry officer in the Rural Infrastructure & Agro-Industries Division. His main responsibilities continue to include field projects for the development of the agro-industry in Africa as well as programmes managed by FAO Headquarters on the prevention of food loss, processing of agricultural products and quality management.
1. Which aspect of the food waste problem is the most relevant for you?
All aspects (measurement, impacts (on environment, climate change, economics, food security, socially), causes, solutions) are equally relevant, but the most important and difficult to address is the quantitative measurement of food loss and waste at national level and sector level.
2. What do you think is the best way to make improvements in this area?
Research and trials of FLW measurement.
3. Can you already discover a positive development in this area?
Yes, various methodologies to assess and measure FLW have been developed and are being piloted in real situations. However, these trials are very expensive and funding is lacking to do it at the desired scale.
4. What institutional measures would you like to see in the future?
National committees on FLW reduction, comprising of public and private stakeholders who take the lead in addressing the issue at national sector and subsector level.
5. How do you see the role of the SAVE FOOD initiative in the fight against food loss and food waste?
Promote and coordinate initiatives everywhere in the world, stimulate collaboration and give guidance on methodology, strategy and policy development.