MEC highlights initiatives to fight food waste in Ramadan
June 02 2018 09:27 PM
food waste

QNA Doha

The world wastes 1.3bn tonnes of food annually, equivalent to US$1tn, and a quarter of this amount can feed the poor and hungry around the globe, according to recent statistics.

The concept of 'food waste' means food, suitable for human consumption, that is destroyed or disposed of at different levels and stages of the supply chain - from production to household consumption.

The waste from an economic perspective is inefficiency in the spending money which it can be used or saved or invested and stimulate the economy.

The Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) highlighted that the waste from the social perspective is to boast of the quantities and types of foods that are served simply for bragging and showing off.

During Ramadan, statistical reports indicate that half of the food is disposed of by throwing it in the garbage by individuals and families in Qatar, indicating that the food provided exceeds the capacity of the person, and this is prohibited by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The MEC launched a number of awareness programmes during Ramadan, under the slogan "Less than Duty" to promote consumer culture, define his rights and duties and support him to plan properly and benefit from the virtues of this holy month.

These initiatives, according to the ministry's website, include all the ministry's activities related to organising, supporting and motivating them, such as the subsidised sheep initiative and the list of reduced consumer goods, as well as conducting intensive inspections before and during the Ramadan, and awareness programmes on various consumer and commercial topics.

In order to fight the waste of food and to rationalise consumption, the "Grace Preservation" Centre was established in Qatar 10 year ago.

After a year of its establishment, it distributed about 130,000 meals, and by the end of 2017, it had distributed a total of more than 2.5mn meals.

The centre has 10 buses which collect food and redistribute it to needy families from low-income groups during Ramadan.

The centre's 27 staff members are distributed among the various work categories.

Head of Public Relations in Hifz Al Naema Centre, Youssef al-Khulaifi, told Qatar News Agency (QNA) that the holy month of Ramadan is characterised by being one of generosity with guests, and with the poor.

He pointed out that this urge for generosity sometimes crosses a line to reach a state of extravagance that leads to unjustified waste.

He also highlighted that the wisdom of fasting is to experience the life of people in need of the weak and the needy.

In response to a question about the extent to which society responds with the centre, al-Khulaifi stressed that the Qatari society was a generous one.

He added that this was evident in the amount of communication the centre receives daily from individuals and companies.

He also noted that the real problem was trying to adequately meet that response.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that about 815mn people of the 7.6bn people in the world, or 10.7%, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2016.

Almost all the hungry people live in lower-middle-income countries.

There are 11mn people undernourished in developed countries.

The organisation recalls that 1.3bn tonnes of food products, one-third of all food produced globally, is wasted or lost each year.

The Ministry of Economy and Commerce called on consumers to take some precautionary measures to reduce food waste, such as setting a food budget for one week or a month and committing to it, buying less food when shopping and estimating the need of each individual when cooking.

One should also be mindful of the fact that some food spoils before being consumed. Expiry date, as well as the incorrect storage of food affects the period of its validity.

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