Friday, January 15, 2016

Each Saudi resident wastes 250 Kg food annually

Food is essential for the survival of human beings and is God’s gift to mankind. Food wastage started from tiny habits which went unnoticed and now according to the Ministry of Agriculture, approximately 34% of the food in Saudi Arabia goes to waste. Abdullah Thunayan who is the executive director of the Charitable Food Association commonly known as Etaam in Saudi Arabia states that we waste 250kg of food per person annually.

The function of Etaam is to save leftover food and provide it to the less fortunate. They have to ensure that the food is not contaminated with any disease and can be preserved.  This organization has won several prizes and is recognized for its commendable hard work, two notable awards were in Qatar for leading social projects in GCC and secondly by the Arabian Business for social initiative in the country. The organization creates awareness and requests people to reduce the post-harvest losses and food wastage by spending excessively. They have approximately saved 699,168 meals in Riyadh and the Eastern Province and is currently expanding throughout the country.

If in Saudi Arabia, the food wastage would be reduced by 30%, it would result in a 15% reduction in prices of food.  This happens because when the supply is more than the demand, the prices fall. Currently we are wasting around 1.3 billion tons of food are being thrown in the trash. Where one economy is wasting food, there are approximately 870million hungry people in the world who are deprived from basic food necessities. Saudi Arabia has the highest food consumption of around 60% of the total region.

Not only in terms of the economical drawback associated with wastage of food but it is essentially not good for anyone. It harms the economy, harms the environment and is against our moral stands. Most food is wasted in social gatherings and at restaurants, and according to calculations around one third of the food is wasted. The food we waste and is thrown away could help feed one hungry person, and as Muslims we must help feed everyone around us.  Not just for Muslims but even an Indian iconic leader stated that if God were to appear to hungry people, it would be in the form of food.

According to several reports, half of the food that is wasted is due to the lack of hygiene. From the planting of the seed to the time it is grown and utilized, we use filthy hands, do not use the correct fungicides and disease reducing sprays. Another large chunk of food is wasted during its transportation where the crops are just squeezed into trucks which yet again are not hygienic which lead to the rejection of supply by the food retailers and at the end of the chain, we humans waste food in a manner which can be easily prevented. We do not believe in the concept of recycling food which is why major food wastage is because of us human beings.

Source: Arab News

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