ACCORDING to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates, over one billion tonnes of food is lost and wasted annually across the world, which accounts for about 33 per cent of the total food produced globally. This poses serious challenges to food security, food safety and the economic and environmental sustainability.

China is among the few countries that have taken pragmatic steps to address the issue of food loss or waste. It had established a waste-food processing facility in 2018 in Shandong province. Now, the country has launched a major campaign to check edible food waste across the country, advising the nation to buy or cook at home only what is needed, and to manage food portions in restaurants and hotels.

Ironically, about 30 million tonnes of food is wasted in Pakistan every year, of which 50pc of edible food wasted is at consumers’ level. This huge quantity of food can be consumed gainfully. Most of this wasted or discarded food is still perfect for eating.

Pakistan is ranked 107 out of 118 developing countries on the Global Hunger Index. This is the most opportune time for the government to emulate the example of China in the wake of current period of high inflation and rising poverty.

Besides, the government and civil society should also raise awareness about minimising food wastage in homes as well as at wedding halls, hotels and restaurants. Various measures can be taken to develop the habit of saving food.

The households could be urged to purchase food that is actually needed, and the customers in restaurants and eateries could be encouraged to order the right quantity of food, whereas the restaurants need to offer the option of smaller servings.

Hussain Siddiqui
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2021

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