How an initiative launched by Sheikh Mohamed is helping cut food wastage

Public and private sector entities urged to preserve food resources for a sustainable future


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Thu 19 May 2022, 8:21 PM

For the UAE, food security has been top of the agenda to ensure a sustainable supply of food to residents.

To support this important initiative, the National Food Loss and Waste Initiative (Ne'ma) was launched to encourage public and private sector entities to collectively address food waste and responsible consumption to preserve food resources for a sustainable future.

The fundamental goals of the initiative are to reduce food waste by 50 per cent and also to discover the main reasons for the behaviour that cause food loss, to change negative medium and long-term behaviour and promote positive ones.

The UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, who witnessed the launch of the initiative, urged all members of the society to adopt a culture of shared responsibility and commitment and correct societal behaviour and practices that cause food waste to ensure the sustainability of the nation’s food resources and other blessings that Allah Almighty has bestowed upon the country.

“Guided by the values of our founding fathers and ancestors when it comes to rational consumption of food, we are determined to transmit our values and behaviour that is deep-rooted in our Emirati society to our current and future generations to achieve sustainability,” Sheikh Mohamed said.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), around 30 per cent of the world's food production is wasted annually, equivalent to 1.3 million tonnes. Therefore, the issue of food security becomes critical for countries like the UAE which heavily rely on food imports.

The hospitality and F&B players are of the view that food consumption substantially increases during Ramadan but the amount of food wastage, at the same, also increases. Therefore, public and private partnerships and the involvement of non-government organisations (NGOs) can help to resolve this issue.

To ensure a sustained supply over the coming decades, the government has set an ambitious target to make the UAE the world’s best in Global Food Security by 2051.


"The UAE works to meet its goal of ranking at the top of the Global Food Security Index by 2051 through utilising data to inform strategies that advance the transition to a sustainable future, and ensuring the provision of safe and healthy food at affordable prices. We look forward to more achievements in the food security space in 2022," Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said during a recent panel discussion.

She said food loss and waste represent a global challenge. "In light of the country’s ambitions to establish a sustainable future and under the framework of consumption rationalisation and promoting sustainable behaviours, the Ne’ma initiative aims to reduce food waste by 50 per cent, in line with the Sustainable Development Goal No.12.3, through two main pillars. The first is to coordinate with all public and private organisations to reduce food waste, and the second is to raise awareness about sustainable behaviour in food production and consumption,” she added.

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