UAE: New government initiative to tackle food wastage

Ne’ma aims to encourage public and private sector entities to collectively address food waste



Photo: @admediaoffice/Twitter
Photo: @admediaoffice/Twitter
by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 1 Mar 2022, 4:27 PM

Last updated: Tue 1 Mar 2022, 5:39 PM

Ne’ma, a new national initiative to address the issue of food loss and waste, has been launched in the country.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, witnessed the launch of the National Food Loss and Waste initiative.

Ne’ma aims to encourage public and private sector entities to collectively address food waste and encourage responsible consumption in order to preserve food resources for a sustainable future.

“Guided by the values of the late Sheikh Zayed, we thank God for our nation’s resources and are determined to conserve them. The launch of Ne’ma, the National Food Loss and Waste Initiative, further strengthens the UAE’s ongoing efforts in food security and sustainable development,” Sheikh Mohamed said.

The initiative was developed by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, Emirates Foundation, and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

Photo: @admediaoffice/Twitter
Photo: @admediaoffice/Twitter

It will contribute to achieving the UAE’s target of reducing food waste by 50 per cent by 2030 to meet the country’s Food Security Strategy and UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“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 added.

He urged community members to adopt a culture of shared responsibility and commitment and correct societal behaviour and practices that cause food waste.

Data from the Food Sustainability Index 2021 produced by the Economist Impact and the Barilla Foundation showed that in rich countries, consumers waste more food and in developing nations, food losses occur before reaching the consumer. The 2021 edition revealed that Sweden, Japan, Canada, Finland and Austria have the most sustainable food systems in the world.

According to the estimates, an average person in the UAE wastes around 196kg of food per year.

The new initiative is well-timed, launched well in advance of the holy month of Ramadan when food wastage happens more across the UAE.

In the past years, the government has introduced several projects to manage food loss and waste.

One of the successful initiatives was the UAE Food Bank started in 2017. Aimed at distributing surplus food to those in need, the charitable initiative was able to distribute more than 10 million meals in 2021.

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