DUBAI, 28th September, 2020 (WAM) — Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, stated that reducing food waste and loss within the food supply chain is a strategic objective that will strengthen the UAE’s food security.
She also noted that supporting relevant partners in the public and private sectors, as well as individuals, is among the key tools for achieving this objective.
In 2019, the 74th United Nations General Assembly designated 29th September as the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, recognising the fundamental role that sustainable food production plays in promoting food security and nutrition. Doubtless, this new International Day faces a lot of challenges to achieve goals of “Responsible consumption and production”, which will contribute to the fight for Zero Hunger and against Climate Change.
On the occasion of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, she said, “Food loss and waste is one of the major global challenges that requires practical solutions, to ensure the world’s capacity to produce healthy and sustainable food that will meet the needs of the world’s population and help end hunger.”
“Currently, around one-third of manufactured food is being wasted while over 850 million people are suffering from hunger around the world. If half of the wasted food can be utilised, the world can eliminate hunger,” she added.
The UAE is prioritising the issue of food loss and waste, Almheiri further added, noting that the development of a comprehensive food waste reduction system is one of the main objectives of the National Food Security Strategy.
She also stressed that all relevant national authorities are working to achieve the vision of the UAE’s leadership to raise the public’s awareness and educate them about food rationalisation.
The world is facing significant food challenges caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic and the UAE has taken many proactive steps to reduce food loss and waste, most notably the formation of the National Food Loss and Waste Reduction Committee, a branch of the Emirates Food Security Council, which aims to launch initiatives to reduce food loss and waste by 15 percent by the end of 2021, Almheiri further said.
Many programmes and initiatives will be launched soon to reduce food waste, she explained while urging relevant partners and community members to find practical solutions to reduce food loss and waste, rationalise food consumption and promote sustainable health and nutrition, to enhance the community’s contribution to establishing a flexible national food system capable of meeting the country’s future food needs.
The UN says celebration of the first ever observance of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste comes during the global COVID-19 pandemic, that has brought about a global wake-up on the need to transform and rebalance the way food is produced and consumed.
FAO estimates that 14 percent of food is lost this way, valued at US$400 billion annually. In terms of greenhouse gas, GHG, emissions, the food that is lost is associated with around 1.5 Gt of CO2 equivalent