EGYPT: 9 million tons of food wasted per year, UNEP is concerned

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EGYPT: 9 million tons of food wasted per year, UNEP is concerned©Candace Hartley/Shutterstock

With 9 million tons of food waste produced annually in Egypt, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is taking action to encourage the population and public institutions to preserve resources. Between scientific publications and awareness campaigns, the UN organization hopes to prevent food insecurity in this North African country, which is one of the largest importers of wheat in the world.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), each Egyptian loses or wastes nearly 50 kilograms of food per year. During this time of fasting for the Muslim community, which involves large quantities of meals every evening, the organization, which is based in Nairobi, Kenya, alerts Egyptian families and authorities to the risks of food insecurity and the high cost of living.

Thus, UNEP implements since March 21, 2023 an awareness campaign (media and social networks) to the preservation of resources called “Sustainable Ramadan” for the Arab world. The initiative aims to achieve the 12th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 12) of the United Nations which calls for sustainable production and consumption by 2030.

“Between 15 and 35 percent of food is lost directly in the field, for example, because it is not transported fast enough, another 10 to 15 percent is lost during processing, transportation and storage,” Hussein Gaddine said in 2019. The former representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Egypt was speaking at an anti-waste operation organized in synergy with the Egyptian Food Bank (EFB), the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, and the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development (AICS).

Read also-AFRICA: UN warns of food waste in the face of food insecurity

In sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Ghana, food waste generates economic losses worth 762.32 billion Ghanaian cedis ($64.6 billion), according to a study report jointly published in October 2022 by the Accra-based non-governmental organization (NGO) Food for All Africa and the Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) among others. This represents 3.2 million tons of food lost annually at a time when drought coupled with the war in Ukraine is threatening people’s food supplies.

Benoit-Ivan Wansi

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