Food wastage is still a challenge in the Emirates and Middle East as a whole.
According to study released by market research firm YouGov, nearly 32% of food wastage in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia is leftover or discarded food in restaurants followed by extra food that is cooked for celebrations and in the end gets thrown away (30%). The wastage rate is even more during holy month of Ramadan.
Moreover, in a recent session hosted by Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in Dubai, it was revealed that there is an alarming $4 billion (Dh14.69 billion) yearly food waste in UAE. Globally food waste annual rate is $ 2.6 trillion (Dh9.5 trillion).
This is why “UAE Food Bank” was launched two years ago in January, 2017 under Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI). It is the first food bank in the UAE, a non-profit charitable organization that collects surplus fresh and canned foods from hotels, restaurants, hospitality establishments, farms, food factories and food product markets and distributes food to those in need. The ultimate goal of UAE food bank for Dubai is to be the first city in the region to achieve zero food waste.
UAE Food Bank has an organizational mechanism that includes supervisory and monitoring bodies in accordance with the approved health safety standards in Dubai. It distributes food inside and outside the country in cooperation with a network of local and international charity and humanitarian organizations.
UAE Food Bank Achievements
- Till May 2018, the UAE Food Bank announced that it has collected 2,160 tons of food and signed agreements with 35 foodstuff producers, 13 charities and three sponsors since its launch.
- During the Holy month of Ramadan last year, The UAE Food Bank distributed 73,200 food packets, which included 49,700 iftar kits and 23,500 suhoor meals.
- They had a strategic partnership with the logistics company Careem which provided food collection and delivery services during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Careem collected a total of 377 food packets from the public and delivered it to the nearest UAE Food Bank fridges kept around the emirate of Dubai, in accordance with the specific health and safety standards and requirements.
- The Food Bank also had plans to work with its partners to provide 1,500 snack meals, 500 meals for the Roads and Transports Authority (RTA) bus drivers and 700 meals to labor camps on a daily basis from Zabeel Palace Hospitality.
- Food Bank’s 2018 plans included establishment of food collection centers across the UAE, in association with the local authorities. The first center has already been established in the emirate of Ajman in association with the Humaid bin Rashid Charity Establishment and Ajman Municipality and the second one is scheduled to be opened in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
- Dubai Municipality has also made programs to raise the public awareness on the importance of rational food consumption.
- #ZeroFoodWaste campaign was launched by Dubai Municipality in order to commit to zero tolerance for food waste by both food establishments and residents.
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According to Bashir Hassan Yousif, food safety expert, Dubai Municipality; whether you are an individual or a food business, you should make a conscious effort to reduce food waste in Dubai and UAE. Authorities alone cannot achieve such a goal. Everyone should take up this responsibility. Zero food waste is a culture of being aware about the planet, environment, energy and hunger, all of which are linked to food wastage.
Khalid Mohammad Sherif Al Awadhi, Assistant Director General for Environment, Health and Safety Control Sector, hopes that Dubai residents will understand the role of Food Bank and utilize the Food Bank Food fridges across the city.