Kuwait: 400,000 tons of food surpluses are wasted every year
20 September 2023, 12:00 AM
31 October 2023, 12:00 AM
The phenomenon of food wastage in Kuwait is growing in a worrying manner due to its environmental and economic impacts on the individual and society. It highlights the presence of the culture of extravagance and wastage, and lack of appreciation for blessings, reports Al- Qabas daily.
According to the Food Wastage Index Report for 2021 issued by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), 400,000 tons of food surpluses are wasted every year in the country, of which the per capita share is 95 kilograms annually. Kuwait is one among the countries with the highest food waste in the world.
This is due to many reasons, including the large number of social events, families’ incorrect estimation of their daily food needs, the absence or weakness of laws and legislation regulating food wastage, and the failure to enact legislation to violate wasteful individuals and entities by setting fees for their wastage of food. In light of the spread of this phenomenon and its negative environmental and economic repercussions, the Minister of Commerce and Industry Mohammad Al-Aiban decided to form a committee for designing and implementing the “National Campaign to Rationalize Food Consumption.”
Among its tasks, the committee will provide public awareness to citizens and residents about the environmental and economic impacts resulting from food wastage in the country, and study the proposals submitted by the chairman of the committee, its members, and specialists in the field. In this context, a member of the committee and Head of the “Ne’mati” (my blessing) initiative project Muhammad Al-Muzaini affirmed that the spread of the culture of wastage and extravagance, and the lack of appreciation for blessings harm society.
Among the proposals with the committee to preserve food from wastage include making use of the cooked foods left over in the halls of the social events that are held almost daily. This will be done after taking the opinions of specialists in the Public Authority for Food and Nutrition and the charitable committees.
Al-Muzaini said he reviewed the experiences of many neighboring countries, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, in the field of reducing food wastage, when he participated in previous government committees. He affirmed the need to implement those experiences in Kuwait, after presenting them to the newly formed committee by the Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Regarding the legislative, legal, and regulatory measures that must be taken in this regard, Al-Muzaini pointed out the importance of:
1. Establishing a national program to reduce the phenomenon of food loss and wastage. This program will be under the umbrella of a government body determined by the Council of Ministers.
2. Establishing the National Observatory for Food Wastage in order to collect, exchange and disseminate data in a consistent and transparent manner with all stakeholders in the stages of the food chain.
3. Enacting strict legislation and procedures to hold the food importing, manufacturing, processing and selling sector accountable for the losses resulting from their operations.
4. Criminalizing wastage at the societal and institutional levels, and promoting the use of surplus food.
5. Developing a legal and technical vision for the nature of partnership, cooperation and coordination between food companies, restaurants, cooperative societies, central markets, wedding halls and hotels in order to distribute the surplus usable food resulting from the activity of these entities for the benefit of charitable associations and foundations.