One-third of the food produced worldwide is wasted, costing the global economy around $750bn a year, a new report by the UN food agency said.

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Wednesday some 1.3bn  tonnes of food are wasted every year, with the Asia region including China seen as the worst culprit.

The amount of the wasted food is equivalent to the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) of Switzerland, the director general, Jose Graziano da Silva said. 

"We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practices, when 870 million people go hungry every day," he added.

Achim Steiner, head of the United Nation's Environment Programme (UNEP), described it as "a staggering phenomenon."

"It will take less than 37 years to add another two billion people to the global population. How on earth will we feed ourselves in the future?" he asked.

'Effects environment badly'

Steiner said that eliminating food wastage had "enormous potential" to reduce hunger and called on citizens to take individual action to tackle the issue.

"Each year, food that is produced but not eaten is adding 3.3bn tonnes of greenhouse gases to the planet's atmosphere," FAO said. 

"Food wastage reduction would not only avoid pressure on scarce natural resources but also decrease the need to raise food production" to meet the demands of a fast-growing world population, it said.

Produced but uneaten food occupies 30 percent of the world's farmland, the report said.

Source: Agencies